The reigning champions currently sit 13 points in arrears of league leaders Arsenal after 15 league games suggesting to Atkinson that they have very little chance of lifting a 21st premiership.
"The very minimum requirement is a Champions League place and to win a trophy," said the man who preceded Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
"But for United to win the league now, they are going to need snookers.
"They need a miracle from somewhere. Nobody will fancy them. Nobody will say they are going to win the league.
"But you have players walking around here with a whole host of championship medals. They have to start performing like champions."
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