Gary Neville has called on Manchester United to support manager Jose Mourinho in the transfer market, insisting you "cannot leave a house three-quarters built" after Sunday's shock loss at Brighton and Hove Albion.
Mourinho was left frustrated by a lack of transfer activity before the Premier League deadline after only Fred and Diogo Dalot arrived and his concerns were laid bare as United crashed to a 3-2 defeat.
A new centre-back was Mourinho's top priority amid links with Tottenham star Toby Alderweireld and Leicester City's Harry Maguire but neither were signed, and United's partnership of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof were exposed at Falmer Stadium – defensive errors contributing to the Red Devils' first loss of the season.
Dissecting United's result on the road, former captain Neville said Ed Woodward and the club's hierarchy must back Mourinho financially if they are to make up for the mistakes of the past following Alex Ferguson's departure in 2013.
"He is in his third season and I think he will feel extremely disappointed that he wasn't supported in the transfer market," Neville said on Sky Sports. "You can't leave a house three-quarters built. You have to finish it and complete the build. Then you can think about selling it or renting it because nobody is going to pick it up off you half-built.
"Manchester United have had a problem since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in the transfer market with David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal You could argue £350million to £400m of the £700m that has been spent has not been wasted, but it's not value for money.
"He needs further investment. It's obvious that he does and the club should support him in that because you can't withdraw part way through a process. They have to go for it.
"It will get better and Manchester United will get stronger and won't be easy to play against. I do think they will finish in the top four, but the top four historically has never been the benchmark of what Manchester United are. They have always judged themselves by Premier League titles.
"At this moment in time, that looks unlikely. Obviously it is still early in the season, but it does look unlikely that Manchester United are anywhere near good enough, as we sit here today.
"Forget everything else, that back four is not good enough to win a Premier League title. Let's start and finish with that.
"The goalkeeper is the best in the world, the midfield is strong with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Fred and up front there is Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and a lot of good players. But that back four looks like it will always cause problems and always concede goals. It doesn't have authority and that is a problem.
"Jose Mourinho knows about Premier League title-winning teams and about winning titles in different countries. The base and foundation of that is a good defence."
|Tudor replaces Nicola at Udinese|
|Bert van Marwijk appointed by UAE|
|Klostermann handed Germany debut, Neuer preferred to Ter Stegen in new-look team|
|Halep brings in Dobre as new coach|
|NRL Opta facts: Burgess and Murray out to repeat strong starts in round two|
|Harper happy Trout blew him out the water|
|Morata unsurprised by reported Man City interest in Saul|
|Injured Alexander-Arnold pulls out of England squad|
|Martinez wants Icardi resolution|
|Morata defends Simeone from criticism|
|Pogba: Real Madrid is a dream for anyone|
|Tierney joins Robertson in missing Kazakhstan-Scotland|
|Ichiro´s standing ovation & A´s pitching woes - Five things you may have missed from MLB opener|
|De Jong asked Koeman for Barcelona advice|
|Proteas duo Ngidi and Nortje ruled out of IPL|
|Meet Brody Oliver - The engineering graduate set to test his NFL mettle|
|Rayo Vallecano reappoint Paco Jemez|
|Neres, Rice, Zaniolo and the most exciting debutants of the international break|
|Giroud hints at Lyon interest|
|PRB confirms all four Welsh regions will remain next season|
|Salah goals will come again, believes Klopp|
|Casillas to end career at Porto after signing new deal|
|Pogba wants Solskjaer to get permanent Manchester United job|
|Vunipola defends captain Farrell|
|Crazy season is testing Tottenham´s character, says Rose|
|Anscombe warns of potential Wales exodus|
|54 shots and lose 1-0 - Nacional Potosi suffer ultimate smash-and-grab defeat|
|Middleton: Bucks itching for the playoffs|
|SANZAAR to clarify Super Rugby future amid reports of Sunwolves axe|
|Trippier admits he ´could have done better´ for Tottenham|
|Thompson non-committal over World Cup|
|Heaton hails ´outstanding´ England rival Pickford|
|Ronaldo doesn´t have to prove anything – Cancelo|
|Bucks hand Lakers fourth consecutive loss|
|Menotti worried about ´very tired´ Messi|
|Gabriel Jesus: Post-World Cup most difficult moment of career|
|Rockets´ James Harden makes NBA history|
|Musso honoured to have Messi back with Argentina|
|Clippers coach Rivers denies report he´s interested in Lakers job|
|Former Packers linebacker Matthews signs with Rams|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL East|
|Raiders sign linebacker Burfict|
|Adrien´s a prisoner at PSG – Rabiot´s mother slams Ligue 1 champs|
|Navas criticises Solari over lack of Madrid chances|
|Vinicius: I chose Madrid project over Barca money|
|Griezmann´s sister denies Barcelona contact|
|Barkley on Beckham trade: I was sad to see him go|
|Fleming steps down as Stars head coach|
|Rain washes out Miami Open as Andreescu prepares for action|
|PSG condemn ex-Manchester United defender Evra´s comments|
|Cowboys sign former Packers wide receiver Cobb|
|Nations League glory would top World Cup run, says Kane|
|Chelsea star Hazard ´not working´ on Real Madrid move|
|Retiring Safarova set for Prague swansong|
|Giggs fires back at Ibrahimovic´s ´Circle of Ferguson´ jibe|
|Sterling ´spot on´ with media criticism, says England team-mate Rose|
|Miller times it right as South Africa take super route to victory|
|Panthers sign DE Bruce Irvin|
|Blues sign Wales wing Adams|
|Man Utd fan McGregor reveals admiration for Ronaldo, Ferguson and Solskjaer|
|PSG confirm knee injuries for Meunier and Alves|
|Wilder v Breazeale booked for Brooklyn in May|
|Sterling in the running for player of the year - Kane|
|Scarlets trio sign new contracts after Grand Slam heroics|
|She makes notes on every match - former coach hails hungry Andreescu|
|Kane confident Hudson-Odoi will shine for England|
|LeBron, Antetokounmpo to sit out Lakers-Bucks|
|Warrington wants unification fights - but first faces Galahad in June|
|Roglic snatches Tirreno-Adriatico victory by one second from Yates|
|Silva fined by FA for post-Newcastle ref rant|