Sir Alex Ferguson says he intends to walk away from management on a "winning note".
Ferguson, 70, has indicated that he wants to build a squad capable of challenging Barcelona's dominance on the continent, but he has limited time to do so having said on New Year's Eve that he plans to retire from management in the next three years.
The precise date of his retirement is likely to remain a mystery. Ferguson memorably announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2001-02 season, when the Champions League final was held at Hampden Park in his native Glasgow, but the Red Devils went out to Bayer Leverkusen at the semi-final stage before finishing third in the league.
He has since described the decision to announce his retirement that year as an "absolute disaster", and it appears that the timing of his departure may ultimately be influenced by the success of the preceding campaign.
"I think you always want to go out on a winning note," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "Hopefully we can do that. I don't know how long I can last now but if my health stays up I don't think another two or three years would harm me."
Ferguson said he would not return to the club's training ground upon his retirement but revealed he is likely to remain at Old Trafford in some capacity.
"I will remain active," he said. "I think there will be a role for me at United after I finish."
Ferguson also revealed in the interview that he could have signed Joe Hart, who has been hugely impressive for Manchester City this season.
"I could have bought Joe Hart for £100,000 so we all make mistakes,'' he said. "I've no doubt [Hart will be England goalkeeper for the next ten years]. If you look at the England goalkeeper situation for the last 20 years, I would think he's easily the best."
Meanwhile, Viktor Fischer's agent has denied suggestions Manchester United are interested in the Ajax playmaker.
The Manchester Evening News reports that United are keen to sign the 17-year-old Dane this summer but agent Soren Lerby told TV2 Sporten: "There is absolutely nothing in the story. I don't know where it's come from."