Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said his aim is for Manchester United to challenge for the Premier League title next season, even though he admits it may not be realistic.
Having last won the Premier League in 2012-13 under Sir Alex Ferguson, United will once again have to settle for a top-four battle this term with Liverpool well ahead of the pack.
Solskjaer's side are in fifth place, five points behind fourth-place Chelsea, but a massive 27 points off the pace of Jurgen Klopp's table-toppers.
That gap comes one season after United finished in sixth place, 32 points behind rivals Manchester City as they won their second straight title.
Ahead of his side's visit to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday, the United boss said that catching up to the Premier League's elite has to be the goal – though it appears to be a lofty one at this stage.
"That is the aim, of course," Solskjaer told reporters. "I’m not saying it is a realistic one. We are behind and a fair rate behind the top one now, who we play on Sunday and we’ll see where we are against them.
"But with a few signings, with the improvement these are making, in the next couple of years we want to do that.
"Supporters and the club alike are not happy with not challenging for the top position in the league. That is where we feel we should be and many of today’s supporters have lived that period where we won the league consistently."
Before taking on Liverpool, United host Wolves at Old Trafford in an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday.
With the Premier League title out of reach this term, winning one of the three competitions United are still in – the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League – is the club's only chance at silverware this term.
Though Solskjaer conceded that winning those competitions is not the main aim of a club like Manchester United, they must focus on what is realistic and hope that a cup win can spark them to bigger and better things.
"At the moment we don’t have that type of team," Solskjaer said. "Because in time we've been a bit behind the top ones. It might be that we start with winning a cup and then these players will get that taste.
"That is not what we want to be. We want to be challenging for the league and the Champions League."