For me any side worth its salt tends to have the following ingredients (not-exhaustive but just off top of my head) in place to be a successful side and sustain it for a few years: Cohesive tactical Philosophy/Approach to the game both in an attacking an defensive sense, which is effective in the modern game and the players know it inside out A handful of world class stars operating at a world class level at the bare minimum (lets say 3/4 for arguments sake) and the rest of the XI should still be of a Champions League class at the very minimum A motivated and engaged manager who gets on well with the squad, makes wise selection and tactical decisions, knows how to get the best out of his stars, picks on merit, good transfer decisions (rarely buys big money flops or sells/loans out wrong players, holds on to crap) Learn from their mistakes/react well to losing.. lack of stubborness Dominate big games (rarely lose them) 9 times out of 10, always at the races and competitive - rarely get battered if ever regardless of level of opponent - strong work ethic and determination/courage throughout the squad Sense of brotherhood within squad - willing to go to war for each other Reliable squad players/not carrying any passengers Good with injury management/players are generally in great condition Club generally able to attract high calibre of player but don't just buy big names for the sake of it - transfers generally are wise and make sense Board willing to put the money in to sign quality Ability to hold on to star names from rival big teams or from the continent If you look at most successful teams, they tend to pretty much tick all the boxes rather than have just a few things ticked off. To be successful, you need a variety of factors to be satisfied in order for the trophies to follow. Now if we were to look at United, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.. how far ahead are we of our rivals or are we behind them in some respects despite the fact we are 2nd in the table. I'd say looking at the list, we definitely have progressed from where we were with Moyes/Van Gaal.. but compared to say teams which are looking to win titles and CL, for all the money spent.. are we still a long way off? How close are we to reproducing a 2008 United side, or Bayern of 2012-14 or the Barca/Real Madrid sides of recent vintage. I think its important to really look at where we are with regards to these factors and question whether we really need to make certain decisions in order to ensure we get to where we want to and not stagate. I'm seeing progress, but is it progress that will definitely lead to title success or are we crawling too slow whilst other sides will eventually leave us behind once they get their acts together and hitting more of those factors than we are. For example a team like Real is in disarray this year, but you just know they'll eventually get it right - we've taken half a decade and still don't really look a top side, which is fine but unless we see certain things changing, this can stretch to a decade and then before you know it.. you're the next Liverpool - which I'm sure won't happen and we don't want it to happen, but it is important to keep perspective and keep our eyes on the main prizes and not get complacent with accepting mediocrity.