United head into Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Sunderland at Old Trafford knowing their hopes of retaining the Barclays Premier League have already disappeared, and they are already out of the FA Cup.
It has led to intense speculation that manager David Moyes is planning changes during the January transfer window, with Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata an obvious target, even if the club insist they have not made a bid.
Yet even with Mata, United's aim would be a top-four spot, which would represent their lowest finish of the entire Premier League era - confirmation of how times have changed since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.
"We have had to rethink our targets for the year but this club is about winning trophies," Cleverley said on Sky Sports News.
"We are still well in the Champions League and are in the semi-final of the cup.
"We have to shoot ourselves up the league, then hopefully we can end the season positively."
Moyes is thought to be pondering whether to make a mammoth offer for Mata, knowing he would almost certainly need to smash the club's transfer record - £30.75million for Dimitar Berbatov - to persuade Jose Mourinho to offload the Spain midfielder.
The idea of landing Bayern Munich defender Dante, floated in Brazil on Tuesday, has already been quashed by his agent, who insists there is no way the 30-year-old will be leaving the Champions League winners this month.
However, there was a positive from Marcus Marin's rejection, given his assessment that United remain an attractive proposition despite their present plight.
"Manchester United followed him two years ago," Marin told Press Association Sport. "We were in talks with them but then he ended up at Bayern.
"They are a very good club - and a very big club - so it would be interesting if they were interested in Dante, although I stress we have not spoken to anyone."
Moyes is undoubtedly going to be linked with huge numbers of players until deadline given his obvious need to strengthen, which is recognised by virtually everyone, including Gary Neville, who thinks Mata has qualities that make him an obvious attraction.
The former England right-back posted on Twitter: "Positives of signing a player like him are obvious-lift everyone( spark), creativity,knows PL,4th place chances go up- fantastic player."