Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has moved to change his target of getting his team into the Premier League top four by the end of December.
The Portuguese coach has said that he would have steered the Old Trafford club in the Champions League qualification spots by the time 2018 ended – but he has since said they need a “miracle” to manage it by the end of the season.
United have not won a league game since 3rd November and are falling further behind their top four rivals thanks to points dropped in their recent draws with Crystal Palace and Southampton.
And the former Chelsea boss has moved to clarify what he meant by saying that his team would need a “miracle” to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“If I used that word, it is not what I think at all.” he is quoted by BBC Sport.
“I don’t think we need a miracle. We don’t need to waste points where we don’t need to waste.
“Before Palace, I said my target would be end of December in top four. Now the target has changed.
“Now we have to try to be very close to these positions. We need not to be so unlucky with problems that we have.
“We need some players to perform.” he finished.
The debate over whether United will get back up into the top four will be an interesting one for fans of online football betting – with plenty of bets being made which back against them managing to pull off what Mourinho claimed would be a “miracle”.
Mourinho did manage to ease the pressure on his shoulders by steering United into the knockout phase of the Champions League last week thanks to a late 1-0 win over Swiss side Young Boys, which sealed their passage from the group stage.
But that was followed up with a disappointing 2-2 draw against relegation battling Southampton – although United did pull off another comeback to claim a point from the game at St Mary’s on Saturday evening.
Next up for United is the visit of in-form Arsenal, who have been rejuvenated under the guidance of former Sevilla and Paris Saint Germain manager Unai Emery.
The Spaniard has quietly got on with his job and is making a lot of Mourinho’s complaints about his situation look quite hollow.
Perhaps the former Porto, Real Madrid and Inter Milan coach will get one over on his rival on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford.
Anything other than three points is likely to see supporter calls for Mourinho to be sacked get that bit louder.