Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not think Manchester United can win the Premier League next season.
United are well off the pace this year, trailing leaders Liverpool by 24 points and watching their other main rival Manchester City compete for the title in a two-horse race.
Even with the summer transfer window ahead, Solskjaer has somewhat surprisingly admitted that his team are unlikely to challenge when the new season rolls around.
‘I don’t think we’ve got the consistency to do that (win the league)’, he said.
‘You cannot expect things to happen overnight and we know that. It will happen gradually and we have to be realistic enough as a club that we have to take it step by step.
‘That’s not changing 10 players now and bringing 10 players in. It’s slowly, slowly but surely. It has to be the right quality, right personality, the right standards to get us back to where we want to be.’
United may not be at the level of their rivals but could yet have a massive say in the title race when they host City on Wednesday night.
And Solskjaer confessed to feeling the sting from watching Liverpool and City go toe-to-toe for the silverware with United left scrapping tooth and nail for a spot in next season’s Champions League.
‘We want to be the best, we have been the best and it’s not nice seeing those two at the top,’ he went on.
‘For a supporter, as I am, and as a manager now as well, we know [them well] because they are so close in the vicinity.
‘It’s not about taking something away from others. We have to want to overtake them, and not just because it’s City and Liverpool.’
United could yet relish the role of spoiling City’s party this season however. Solskjaer has warned his players that they will be ‘kicked’ by Pep Guardiola’s visitors.
And the Spaniard took exception to the comment, all adding extra spice to what should already be a combustable atmosphere with United looking for a reaction to the 4-0 drubbing by Everton on Sunday.