Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has warned the team simply are not good enough to challenge for the Premier League title in their current state.
United find themselves seventh in the Premier League and well out of the title picture already. They sit 14 points behind leaders Manchester City but could close that gap in Rangnick's first game in charge when Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
Rangnick's arrival at the club has been met with real optimism, and while the boss shares that positivity, he was keen to remind fans of the reality of the team's current situation.
"Against City it was 2-0 — but it could also have been more. It was important to win the point at Chelsea but the performance? I don't know. They had 24 shots on goal and we had three.
"So right now, to say I will challenge the top Premier League managers in the next few weeks or months, is not realistic. I cannot turn the players we have into the pressing monsters I want them to be within two, three or four weeks. The same happened to Jurgen [Klopp] when he came in the middle of the season.
"Liverpool had a lot of muscle injuries in that time because they were not used to that kind of training so we have to be smart."
Rangnick admitted that making smart signings will be key to United's resurgence, but he stressed the importance of keeping the pathway from the academy open.
"It's about recruitment but also making sure every year we have academy players good enough to make it into the first team," he said. "One doesn't exclude the other."