According to Jose Mourinho, Manchester United “are not ready to be a dominant force” in the Premier League.
The United manager also said that fans should forget about a return to the days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
United won 13 Premier League titles under Ferguson, but Mourinho says it is now impossible to be so dominant.
Asked if he could return the club to its former greatness, the Portuguese said: “Forget it.
“Don’t try to go 10, 20 years ago because it is not possible anymore”.
In a wide-ranging interview with Gary Lineker for the Premier League Show, Mourinho also raised other points. He said that the club does not need to qualify for the UEFA Champions League to attract top players. He added that he would not have sold Angel di Maria, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, had he been United manager.
The 54-year-old Portuguese signed a three-year contract last May to replace Louis van Gaal (LVG). LVG was sacked by the club, despite winning the FA Cup.
The Red Devils have finished seventh, fourth and fifth in the three full seasons since Ferguson’s retirement, and have been in sixth place since 6 November.
Mourinho cannot see the club returning to its glory days anytime soon, but does not want the season to fade out after winning the EFL Cup last month.
“We are not ready to be Manchester United. We are not ready to be a dominant force. We are not ready to try and win everything”, he said.
“Because of the nature of the club, and of myself, we are ready to fight for every game, every point. But there is a space between the general ambition of such a giant club and what we are in reality”.
Mourinho said United – who beat Premier League champions Leicester City in the Community Shield in August – had won “one and a half” trophies this season.
He said that “Many other teams in England are going to finish the season without a trophy”. The former ‘Special One’ conceded that United have to fight for every game because “the cup is not enough to say that the season is over”.