Jose Mourinho believes that Manchester United can still close the gap on their top four rivals this season.
The 53-year-old, following a turbulent start to life at Old Trafford, finds his side sitting in sixth spot going into the new year – six points off the top four.
Wins over Tottenham Hostpur and Crystal Palace in the past week, however, have signalled something of a resurgence for Mourinho’s men.
The Portuguese, speaking after the 2-1 win over Palace, insisted that Man United can surmount the current gap between themselves and the leading pack in the coming weeks.
“There are three more matches until the end of the year and let’s see how it ends on December 31 and we can feel then and smell what is possible to do in the second part of the season,” he said.
“We are doing enough to be in the top six. If we had the points we lost at home with draws in matches that we did more than enough to win, we would be close to the top of the league.
“But we lost these points and in this moment we are just closing the gap to the top four positions, so let’s try.”
For most teams, their fate come May remains very much up in the air. There is, of course, still plenty of room for Premier League sides to decide whether their Premier League campaign bears fruit or gently subsides into disappointment. It is only December, after all.
Not United. Their season will be essentially decided over the next month or so. If they continue to drop points, losing further ground on those ahead of them, their season loses meaning, and minds will turn to next season – a blank slate, chance to start again.
Then again, should Mourinho’s men continue their winning streak as the new year approaches, a belated assault on the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool could very easily materialise.