David Moyes admits he never expected his debut season as Manchester United manager to go as badly as it has done so far.
United now stand nine points behind fourth-placed Liverpool following their latest disappointing result - a 2-2 home draw against Fulham.
Moyes never thought replacing Sir Alex Ferguson would be easy, but when asked whether he ever thought it could have gone as badly as this, the former Everton boss replied with a very frank: "No, probably not."
Loading article content
United have now dropped 18 points at home this season, and with away defeats to Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Stoke, bookmakers have the Red Devils down as 6-1 outsiders to make the top four.
Those same bookmakers were offering odds of 23-1 on Fulham to beat Moyes' side before Sunday's match.
Fulham were rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League with the worst defensive record in division.
Five days earlier they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United, who are in the League One relegation zone.
But the Cottagers took just 19 minutes to open the scoring and they then survived an onslaught from United to eventually come away with a 2-2 draw thanks to Darren Bent's 94th-minute equaliser.
United flung a record 81 crosses into the Fulham box, but with 6ft 7in centre-back Dan Burn in the away side, visiting head coach Rene Meulensteen said his team were well prepared for everything the hosts threw at them.
"When I saw Manchester United today I thought the game-plan was quite straight forward - get it wide, get it in," said Meulensteen, who walked away from Old Trafford last summer following a long spell among Ferguson's backroom staff..
"If you're well organised and the goalkeeper is in good positions to come and collect the ball it can be easy [to defend against].
"You need a little bit of creativity and a bit of variety at times to open [teams] up.
"It was partly straight forward.
"We know that we had to be more compact and tight in wide areas because United would cross the ball a lot."
Moyes defended his decision to pump so many balls into the box even though it was clear that the tactic was not working.
"It wasn't always one way. One of the big things about Manchester United is that they do play with width, they do cross the ball, its in their genes here," the Scot said.
There was a downbeat answer from Moyes when he was asked whether his team could finish in the top four.
"We will do our best," Moyes said.
"We have a good team and there will be very few teams desperate to play Manchester United, that's for sure."
It is hard to believe that Arsenal, who face United on Wednesday, will share Moyes' point of view after this latest underwhelming display from the champions.