Darren Fletcher has called on Manchester United to back boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the transfer market, following the team's 3-0 win in the Carabao Cup at Brighton.
Solskjaer steered United into the quarter-finals of the competition despite making 10 changes to his starting line-up for the second trip to Brighton in the space of four days, with Scott McTominay, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba on target.
However, Solskjaer, speaking to Sky Sports after the win, said there was no transfer news to report and, with Deadline Day looming on Monday, former United midfielder Fletcher says the club must add to the squad if they want to be successful this season.
Manchester United are in talks with Barcelona over a loan deal for Ousmane Dembele, while the Premier League club are also considering an improved offer for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho. United are keen to sign a winger during this transfer window and, while their first choice is Sancho, Dembele represents a strong alternative.
"We know it's more difficult for Manchester United to sign players. The value goes up, the negotiations are difficult," Fletcher told Sky Sports.
Save over 25% with a NOW TV Sky Sports Pass
Catch the action for only £25 a month with this limited time offer. Watch the Premier League, Formula 1, PGA Tour and much more. Cancel any time.
"But at the same time they will be frustrated - Ole, the fans, everybody around the club - by the fact that Chelsea and other teams can do their business early, and that other teams have spent a lot of money already while Manchester United look like they are going to leave it last minute.
"For me, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, for the job he has done for the club, from where it was to what it is now, deserves the players he wants in.
"He's always got the best interests of the club at heart, I know that, but sometimes Ole has to look after himself as well, because he's going to be judged season on season.
- All Sky Sports' offers for the new season
- Transfer Centre LIVE!
- Man Utd transfer rumours
- Transfer Talk podcast: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Spreaker
"People don't look at the work you've done, they want the here and now, and for Manchester United to get to where they want, they need players.
"They need three, four, five players to get anywhere close to challenging Liverpool. If they don't recruit, they are going to find it tough to finish top four.
"I would hate all that pressure and criticism to go on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, because I feel he's done a fantastic job.
"The board have to back him. Ole will have identified targets and so will the club. They've got five or six days to get him some help and get him some players in."
United's best performance of the season
United had squeezed past Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, thanks to a last-gasp VAR decision and Leandro Trossard hitting the woodwork no less than five times.
But they were far more comfortable winners at the Amex on Wednesday evening. Brighton created chances and had long spells in United's half, but the visitors ultimately came up with the quality in the final third.
Fletcher was impressed with the display and said it was the best the team had shown so far this campaign.
"This is United's best performance of the season," he said. "They really stepped up and played some good football. Brighton outplayed them at the weekend, but they learnt from their mistakes.
"I know there were changes from the weekend, but it was a much better performance. There was a lot more urgency and intensity and they defended as a team."
Summer transfer window - key dates and times
The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday, October 5 with a feast of activity lined up on Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms.
A domestic-only window for deals between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday, October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on SSN and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.