Gary Neville has claimed Manchester United need another trip to the transfer market if they are to challenge for the Premier League title.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side pulled off what would have seemed at Christmas like an improbable leap up the table by breaking Leicester hearts on the final day to secure a Champions League place.
Bruno Fernandes’ 71 st minute penalty, underlined by Jesse Lingard’s tap-in after seven minutes of stoppage time, extended United’s unbeaten run to 14 games and ensured they finished third.
But Neville believes the squad still needs a significant upgrade before it could be capable of bridging the gap currently separating them from champions Liverpool and local rivals Manchester City.
The ex-United defender said on Sky Sports: “They (United’s starting XI) were absolutely done in with 20 minutes to go and that just demonstrates that they need more players in the squad.
Neville continued: “The last time United finished in the top three they spent £170million under Jose Mourinho that summer and obviously didn’t invest it as wisely as they have this last year.
“I think United need to invest that money again but do it correctly this time to get anywhere need Liverpool and City. That squad needs improving, that team needs improving.”
The Red Devils had made a success of recruitment recently with the purchases of defenders Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and, especially, midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
However, Neville has taken the view that United still need to move up a level in order to compete with Liverpool, who put together 14 more league wins than them this campaign.
He said: “They need to improve the first XI, first and foremost. That’s not to the detriment of any of the players that have played today. There are players who were out there who are good enough to be part of the squad that can still compete if you’re going to play 55, 60 games in a season.
The high-profile pundit added: “It’s about making sure you get players in that want to play for the right club, who are coming for the right reasons.”
Neville’s once Old Trafford colleague Roy Keane, who joined him on the Sky coverage, spelled out exactly where he felt his club should strengthen.
Roy Keane: “I think they need another centre-half, certainly one or two defenders. Gary made a point that when you’re at a big club like United you want options all over the park.
“I think they’ll probably need another striker. We talk about Greenwood coming through but he’s still a young player finding his way.”