Manchester United are improving steadily but despite taking promising strides with each passing month, manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that his side is not ready to challenge for the Premier League title just yet.
The Reds are sitting somewhat comfortably in third in the Premier League but not long ago, there were suggestions that United could realistically challenge for the storied prize this season.
A small slump in form since then has provided a reality check for the optimists but there is no denying that at this rate, Ten Hag’s United will be challenging for the fine prizes sooner rather than later.
Speaking ahead of the second leg of their round-of-16 Europa League tie with Real Betis, Ten Hag commented on United’s title credentials, admitting they are not quite there yet.
“I think we have made good progress, but we also have to acknowledge that there is still a gap,” Ten Hag is quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
“I couldn’t expect us to close that gap quickly. We are trying to win every game and we have beaten all of the top teams. We are capable of doing it. We have to take the next step to do it more consistently. With time, we can do it.
“The Premier League was never that difficult as now; there are so many competitors. It is not a two-horse race; it is a five, six, seven-horse race. For what we want, there are six or seven clubs more [who want the same]. We are capable of doing it but we are aware within the club that we still have steps to go.”
No one expected United to challenge for the title or even be in the conversation going into this season. Less so when the campaign started with two straight defeats in the Premier League.
The fact that United were in the conversation for a large portion of the season is a testament to the work Ten Hag is doing and the club’s trajectory under his stewardship is only going one way.
He recently ended United’s six-year wait for a trophy and he still has the chance to win another two cups this season, with the FA Cup and Europa League still up for grabs.