Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Jose Mourinho is doing his best with a Manchester United squad that is not up to scratch, while he says even a top-four finish would be a disappointment for him.
The former Paris Saint-Germain forward has been United's star man this season, scoring 27 goals in all competitions, but his side are struggling to secure Champions League football for next season.
Ahead of facing Sunderland on Sunday, Mourinho's men are seven points behind fourth-placed rivals Manchester City - with two games in hand - but Ibrahimovic has defended his manager's disappointing first season in charge.
"I think [Mourinho] is doing the absolute maximum with the team he has," he told the Daily Mail. "Two hundred per cent. If we were good enough to be number one, we would be number one in the table.
"He still has the same winning mentality, because that you don't lose. When you have it, you have it. It is nothing you learn or can try to be. Either you are, or you are not
"I know him very well. He is direct in his work. He likes to look into your eyes and tell you if you're s*** or not. I prefer that.
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"He sends you the message he is thinking and he is the boss - he decides and controls the situation. It is the way it works and I am from the old generation, which I think was more like that.
"At half-time against Everton [on Tuesday] he told us we were not good enough. We should hear it because we were not."
Ibrahimovic has become accustomed to winning league titles in a successful career with Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan and PSG, but United are a mammoth 21 points behind league-leaders Chelsea, although they liftedthe League Cup in February.
While the 35-year-old has hinted at extending the one-year deal he signed at Old Trafford in 2016, he added that he struggles with the club's lowly position.
"Even top four is a disappointment, because the last time I didn't win a title was 2012 when Milan came second. The last time before that was at Ajax in 2003. I am not used to being where I am now," he said.
"So this is something new for me, a situation I learn from. I don't accept we are sixth, but I accept that I am here and I have to work through it. That's the way it is."