Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane said responsibility for the club's poor season lies beyond sacked manager David Moyes.
Keane slammed vice-chairman Ed Woodward, and inexperienced defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, after United's worst finish (seventh) in the English top flight since 1989-90.
A United midfielder of 12 years, Keane said disgraced boss Moyes was made to be the scapegoat of a wider problem - recruiting - as he put the blame for United's struggles at the feet of Woodward.
"He (Moyes) had one transfer window, and it's not always down to the manager when players don't come in," Keane said, speaking at ITV's World Cup launch.
"I think Ed Woodward needs to look at himself. He's got to get deals done.
"I think he (Moyes) should have been given more time. I was happy with David Moyes.
"I think (Louis) Van Gaal is a good choice. Only time will tell. He's managed big clubs."
Keane particularly lamented the signings of Smalling - from Fulham - and Jones, bought off Blackburn - both deals done prior to the infamous Moyes era.
"They've had a platform for the last couple of years," he said.
"We were told two or three years ago Jones was going to be the new Duncan Edwards, Smalling was this… I've watched United live nine, 10 times this year and they have been none of those things.
"If anything I think they have gone backwards.
"I've actually been a big fan of them – yes, give them a chance, you say you have to give players a chance to mature but also you've got players who you say we've given you a chance and you're not taking it.
"They need to do a lot better if they want to cement their place at Man United and United to win trophies. Jones needs to toughen up.
"Every time I see him he is getting carried off. He's got to toughen up – he's playing for Man United. They have to recruit in the summer – they might get two."
Keane said a strong line-up through the middle was what United lacked, as they finished below the top-three for the first time in 23 seasons.
"It's the spine of the team. United have come up short defensively and in the middle of the park they have not done enough," Keane said.
"You watch any of the teams that are winning trophies… I'm stating the obvious, you've got to have a strong spine, goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and striker and United have been short in two of those areas.
"It makes it very difficult to win trophies."
|BREAKING NEWS: Bailly to miss three months due to ankle surgery|
|Klopp defends Liverpool rotation policy|
|Arsenal fan Prince Harry´s wedding day to clash with FA Cup final|
|He´s one of the best – Simeone showers Oblak with praise|
|Juventus won´t sell in-demand Pjaca, agent claims|
|Bolasie in line for Everton return after long-term injury|
|Maradona told Real Madrid to sign Mbappe|
|Sydney FC 3 Melbourne City 1: Champions come from behind to go eight points clear|
|Red-hot Salah wins Player of the Month|
|Heynckes unaware of reported Sanches loan termination|
|Maradona: I´d have won more Ballons d´Or than Ronaldo and Messi|
|Wenger confirms Wilshere contract talks imminent|
|We´ve never been approached by Man United – Wenger rejects Ozil reports|
|Lewandowski demands focus ahead of Christmas|
|Klopp right to rotate at Liverpool – Neville|
|Donnarumma plays down Milan exit rumours|
|Barkley could leave in January – Allardyce|
|Pulisic voted youngest-ever male USA player of the year|
|Griezmann will be allowed to leave – Simeone|
|Guardiola appears to aim another dig at Mourinho|
|Vardy relishing Fleetwood return|
|Almiron blocked from becoming Las Palmas coach|
|Ligue 1 adopts VAR from next season|
|Calabria extends AC Milan contract|
|Everton give new deals to Calvert-Lewin, Holgate & Kenny|
|Under-fire Hughes promises results will come for Stoke|
|Mourinho asked to explain pre-Manchester derby comments|
|Stoger sets Dortmund end of year target|
|Dyche: No swaggering from high-flying Burnley|
|Watzke plays down Nagelsmann rumour as Dortmund plan for 2018|
|Guardiola´s record runs with Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona compared|
|Benteke goal drought a concern for Hodgson|
|City look frightening – Rose|
|Kahn regrets rejecting Manchester United|
|Bayern wrapping up Ribery for Christmas|
|Wilshere no closer to signing fresh Arsenal contract|
|Resurgent Rooney has Europe´s best shot-conversion record|
|Pastore bullish over PSG chances against Madrid|
|Independiente boss overjoyed by ´dream´ Copa Sudamericana success|
|Silva is an animal - Guardiola|
|Wenger not blaming Sanchez for Arsenal´s goal woes|
|Mourinho can´t find room for misfiring Mkhitaryan|
|Guardiola tells fans Man City won´t stop after record-breaking win|
|Mirabelli: Donnarumma has to beg Milan if he wants to leave|
|Bayern lacked verve, says Heynckes|
|Di Maria wants more game time at PSG after goalscoring display|
|Gattuso: Donnarumma shaken by abuse from AC Milan fans|
|Pellegrino calls for Southampton reaction|
|Benitez ´needs to know´ extent of Newcastle´s transfer budget|
|Zidane will not request striker signing despite Benzema blanks|
|Bournemouth excellent in Old Trafford loss – Howe|
|Wilshere´s performance ´very positive´, says Wenger|
|Pochettino challenges Spurs to keep top-four berth|
|I´d be in Brazil if the title race was over – Mourinho|
|It was hard to watch - Clement wowed by City´s dominance of Swansea|
|Bailly may require surgery on ´serious´ ankle injury|
|Klopp uncertain on Solanke´s disallowed goal|
|Guardiola sure record-breaking City won´t get complacent|
|Puel focuses on Leicester win, not Southampton revenge|
|Strasbourg 2 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Revenge is sweet for Emery´s men|
|Tottenham 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Aurier scores a fluke as Spurs go fourth|
|West Ham 0 Arsenal 0: Wasteful Gunners drop points for third game in a row|
|Liverpool 0 West Brom 0: More frustration for Klopp as hosts draw again|
|Manchester United 1 Bournemouth 0: Lukaku eases scoring concerns after derby day woes|
|AC Milan 3 Verona 0: Bonaventura shines as Gattuso´s side march on|
|Newcastle United 0 Everton 1: Rooney haunts Magpies again|
|Manchester City set new Premier League winning streak|
|Swansea City 0 Manchester City 4: Silva sparkles as Guardiola´s record-breakers march on|
|Southampton 1 Leicester City 4: Puel serves up Saints revenge|
|Bayern Munich 1 Cologne 0: Lewandowski opens nine-point gap in Bundesliga|
|Mourinho slams Manchester derby penalty decision in programme notes|
|This is my last season at Monaco – Fabinho|
|Bale: Football would be better without VAR|
|Thought Mayweather v McGregor was 2017´s biggest sporting event? Think again!|
|Manchester United´s Gomes pens professional contract|
|Al Jazira 1 Real Madrid 2: Bale spares Spanish blushes at Club World Cup|
|Ronaldo takes goalscoring record from Messi|
|Al Jazira stun Real Madrid to take half-time lead in Club World Cup|
|Neymar returns to PSG after break|
|Iniesta would welcome Barca pursuit of Coutinho|
|FA extends deadline for Manchester clubs to respond over alleged derby fracas|
|Dybala clever enough to listen to Nedved - Buffon|
|Willian not ready to walk out on Chelsea|
|Arsenal striker Lacazette not counting on title miracle|
|World Cup glory worth €350,000 to Germany stars|
|I live day by day - Buffon ponders Euro 2020|
|West Ham eyeing Wilshere swoop in January|
|Klopp reveals hamstring scare for Liverpool star Salah|
|FFA refuses to speculate on Scolari amid Socceroos interest|
|Ronaldo hoping to play with Benzema and Bale again|
|Mourinho takes aim at reporters as Man United boss leaves news conference|
|´Bull****´ to suggest Chelsea can catch Man City – Conte|
|Pordenone would´ve deserved Coppa Italia progression, admits Spalletti|
|Man City haven´t won anything yet – Gundogan|
|Willian: Chelsea will keep fighting for Premier League title|
|Burnley aren´t the real deal – Dyche|
|Stoger wants to bring best out of BVB after breakthrough victory|
|Conte praises contribution of Hazard, Willian and Pedro|
|Inter 0 Pordenone 0 (AET, 5-4 on penalties): Nagatomo spares Serie A leaders´ blushes|