Jose Mourinho has a big job on his hands to ensure Manchester United hit their targets for the 2018-19 season.
After splashing upwards of £415 million on new signings at Old Trafford, the Portuguese boss has very little to show for it.
He’s so far added a League Cup and Europa League title to his CV during the two full seasons since he took over - hardly the return expected off the back of such significant investment.
Mourinho can’t complain about the level of support he’s received in the transfer market throughout his tenure.
However, although continuing to spend will be necessary for United to keep pace with Manchester City, the 55-year-old can expect a tougher time asking his superiors for marquee signings.
That will almost certainly hold true if Mourinho continues failing to convert transfer expenditure into silverware.
After 12 matches, the Red Devils are currently eighth in the Premier League and seven points adrift of automatic Champions League qualification.
While it’s fair to say their struggling start to the campaign has somewhat improved, it’s a big ask to haul themselves back into the top four at the expense of several other quality sides.
In typically defiant fashion, though, Mourinho has set his men the ambitious target of climbing four places on the table before the end of 2018.
"I know it’s a big gap but I also know until the end of December if I’m not wrong we have eight Premier League matches to play, and eight Premier League matches we are speaking about 24 points," he said, per Goal.
"That's 24 points for us to fight for and the other ones in the top four to fight too but I believe we are going to be there.”
Three points will be hard to come by in each of those upcoming fixtures, though, with Arsenal at Old Trafford and a trip to Anfield among them.
Mourinho shouldn’t be criticised for giving his players something to aim for, but hopefully they’ll respond to the challenge more positively than many United fans have.
Irrespective of whether the Red Devils’ top four hopes are as grim as some make out, Mourinho thinks fans have played an important role in stabilising a turbulent start to the season.
"The supporters cannot do more than what they are doing," he said.
"We went through a difficult period of results and the supporters were fantastic, they support the team and in some matches even push the team to different levels, we cannot ask more from them.
"It’s up to us to go to an even better level, for them.”News Now - Sport News