Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says it will be a “miracle” if his side finish in the Premier League top four.
They are seventh and eight points off a Champions League place after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Southampton.
United, whose last league win was on 3 November, host fourth-placed Arsenal on Wednesday.
Before the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on 24 November, Mourinho said United could break into the top four by the end of December.
But speaking to Brazilian television network RedeTV about the club’s ambitions after the Saints result, the Portuguese said: “Try to win as many points as possible and try almost the miracle to end in fourth.”
There were reports that Mourinho criticised midfielder Paul Pogba after Saturday’s draw, calling him a “virus”.
Former England striker Chris Sutton says Mourinho is acting like he wants to be sacked.
“Mourinho does more point-scoring off the pitch than his team does on it,” Sutton said on BBC Radio 5 live.
“It’s not a happy camp, this started in pre-season. They finished second last season, look where they are now. What’s going to happen in January? Can he be trusted with a pot of money in January? This is a United team that is falling at an alarming rate.
“I think he wants the sack. why would you behave in that manner?
“His signings have been a disaster and he wants more money. How can they trust him with the performances the way they have been? What is good about United this season? And it all comes from the manager, who is blaming everyone else.”