Manchester United have not given up on winning the Premier League title this season, says manager Louis van Gaal.
Ahead of their home game against Newcastle United on Boxing Day, the Dutchman's side are third, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Following a slow start, the Red Devils won six games in a row before their 1-1 draw at Aston Villa last week.
"Our goal is still to be the champion at the end of the season. It is always to be first," Van Gaal said.
United's 1-0 derby defeat by Manchester City at the start of November had left Van Gaal presiding over the club's worst start to a season since 1986-87.
The 63-year-old former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager had insisted his side were in a rebuilding process that could take three years.
That was despite spending £150m on players in the summer - including a British transfer record fee of £59.7m on Angel Di Maria.
Di Maria has been among the injury-hit players on a lengthy treatment list that played a part in the Old Trafford side's stuttering start.
But the recent run of form has put the club back in the title mix alongside neighbours Manchester City and leaders Chelsea.
United's board had targeted a top-four finish and Champions League qualification at the start of the season, but Van Gaal said: "With my players and all the staff, we are trying to achieve more than they expect."