Jose Mourinho is confident Manchester United will break into the top four this season but he stopped short of saying they can battle their way back into the title race.
United, who travel to Bournemouth on Saturday, currently sit eighth in the Premier League, five points off fourth-placed Arsenal and nine points behind leaders Manchester City.
Mourinho's side have won just two of their last five in the league but he believes United's form will improve and they can close the gap on their rivals in the coming weeks.
"When you are outside the top four I don't believe you should speak about the title," Mourinho said.
"When you are in the top four - which I believe we are going to be - you can look up, see the distance, see the fixtures, you can look at the situation at that moment with injuries, suspensions and form, then you can feel it.
"In this moment, we are outside the top four so I think the point now is to get the points we need and to try to be in a better position by the end of December, like I expect to be."