Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has claimed that Manchester United's mistakes began in the summer, insisting that David Moyes needed to work faster to make the team his own.
The changeover from Sir Alex Ferguson to Moyes was never going to be easy but when the side fell to a home loss to Newcastle at the weekend it appeared to be a new low for the Premier League champions, who are currently ninth in the table going into the Christmas period.
While the former Liverpool man believes that Moyes won't be ousted by United at this stage he said that the manager needs to make stronger moves in the transfer window to prove that he wants to make his own stamp on a side who are so used to having Ferguson in the dugout.
Hansen explained in the Telegraph: "It only needs a few poor results and you end up with the kind of eye-catching comments Rio Ferdinand made last week, detailing Moyes's preference to name his team on the day of a fixture rather than 24 hours earlier.
"Rio is a clever boy and will know such remarks will be analysed in the current climate and inevitably given a negative spin by those seeking to be critical of the new manager.
"As with Ferguson 27 years ago, Moyes needs to make United his team before a full and fair assessment is made. The biggest mistake he and those running the club made was last summer, when their inactivity in the transfer market failed to correct the squad imbalances, and the major signing they did make, Marouane Fellaini, does not look up to the job."
While many pundits have argued that United's midfield problems are the key to their current league form Hansen believes that their defence also needs work.
"There are problems all over the pitch," he claimed. "United need a centre-half because Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic cannot and do not play every week; right-back has been a consistent issue; and the search for a left-back has been well documented.
"With Fellaini unable to run the midfield, a creative presence in the centre of the park is also essential before United look like title contenders again. The recruitment errors must be rectified in January and at the end of this season to ensure wherever United finish in this campaign they are better equipped in a year's time."
Moyes insisted this week that United would not be forced to panic-buy in January but it would appear that the side seriously need to consider spending big if they hope to get back into the top four, let alone defend their title.