Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is demanding his stars spill blood, sweat and tears to make Manchester United winners again.
And he has warned if they are not up to that challenge, Old Trafford is no place for them.
United head to London on Sunday to try and avenge their early season 6-1 hammering by Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham with Solskjaer wanting his stars to gallop to a strong finish to tee up a sustained title tilt next season.
“At the moment City have had a fantastic season, they have had three or four of them, and we know the challenge ahead of us,” says the Norwegian.
“But we have to take it on. If you don’t, then you’re in the wrong place being here because that is what I am going for.
“Players have to really take that on with the sacrifices they have to make and the work they have to do.
“Blood, sweat and tears have to be put down because this is the best league in the world – and the most difficult.”
United confirmed their place in the Champions League with a final-day win at Leicester last season.
But Solskjaer insists this time he wants his stars to clinch second place convincingly rather than face a late scramble to be best of the rest behind Pep Guardiola’s City juggernaut.
“If you look back at the last six or seven years, we have not been stable in the top two or three, the top positions,” he said.
“There have been seasons when we’ve been fifth, sixth or seventh. So if we can get a good second place, not just scrape into it at the end of the season but have a good finish, then we will go into the next one with hopes we can go even further and do even better.
“We know we’re in a good position at the moment but don’t get me wrong, our ambition is to catch the team in front of us.
“We’re in the Europa League quarter-finals and have had a good first-leg win against Granada in Spain.
“We’ve had some more good results in the league as well, we’re in second place and fighting to get that.
“Right now you cannot give a rating on our season until it has finished because it can be defined in three days, it can be so quick.
“It can be the difference between going into a final, having a strong finish in the league or just doing OK and scraping over the line, which is such a different scenario.
“So I will tell you at the end of the season. Then we can see the progress we’ve made.”
The immediate target is to wipe out the memory of the Spurs’ mauling in October.
Despite seeing 10-man United dismantled by Tottenham after Anthony Martial’s early dismissal for a spat with Erik Lamela, Solskjaer did not obsess about the defeat.
But he wants his stars to show discipline at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“We had such a low level of match fitness at that time with so little preparation for the season,” said Solskjaer.
“So even though we scored with an early penalty we were just not at the level where we could compete especially when Anthony was conned into that red card.
“That was also a big turning point as well, but we learnt a lot from it, especially not to get wound up, and not to react.
“So even though the players will all be fired up, I still want to see a lot of composure.”