Jose Mourinho has conceded that Manchester United will come out second best against Manchester City next season should Pep Guardiola's side maintain the remarkable run of form which saw them clinch the Premier League title in emphatic fashion.
With trophies the physical embodiment of success for United the opportunity to clinch the FA Cup this season - should they overcome Tottenham in the semi-final on Saturday - is vital as Mourinho admitted City's league dominance could leave the Red Devils scrapping over the remaining domestic cups for the foreseeable future.
Mourinho's pessimistic outlook was on show after the United boss was asked whether improved consistency from his side would be enough to halt City's rapid rise.
"This season, in this Premier League, many clubs had positive seasons, like us, like Tottenham, like Liverpool," Mourinho said, via the Daily Mail.
"But it was impossible because City were really good and consistent and will reach a number of points that makes it impossible. If they do the same number of points [next season], if they get into the 90 something points, it will be almost impossible again."
City have secured 87 points from 33 games and require just nine more to break Chelsea's record set by Mourinho in 2005, he added: "I was champions with Chelsea with 95 points. We gave no chance to the opponents, which is what Manchester City did this time.
"Even when they were almost losing points they managed to win against Bournemouth in minute 145 and some other matches where they won in 90-something minutes. They were really, really strong. There is no question about who deserves to be champions."
Whilst Mourinho attempts to dampen expectations at Old Trafford, he cannot escape the form of his top bracket January signing, Alexis Sanchez.
The Chilean has struggled to adapt to life at United following his move from Arsenal, but Mourinho was quick to point to the player he will become next season, rather than lament on his poor start.
He added: "I am not going to say that he frustrates me or not. But I am not a big fan of the January market. It was just an opportunity that we didn’t want to lose. The deal was to be done then or never.
"I was not expecting Alexis to arrive and to immediately become the player we know he can be. I know that next season he will be more Alexis than he is now."