Sky Sports pundits Jose Mourinho, Roy Keane and Graeme Souness have warned Manchester United could face a struggle to even make the top six in the Premier League following their 2-0 defeat at West Ham.
Speaking on Sky Sports, former United boss Mourinho said his former club had failed to improve this season, while Graeme Souness said "this is the worst group Manchester United have had since the Premier League started" and former United skipper Roy Keane described himself as "shocked and saddened" by United's demise.
- West Ham 2-0 Manchester United - Match report and highlights
- Premier League table
- Analysis: Manchester United further away than ever?
Mourinho fears top-six Manchester United struggle
Three-time Premier League winner Mourinho said: "I don't think they are a team capable of fighting for the top two.
"They are far [from the top two]. It's difficult for me to answer. For two seasons I could feel lots of positive things; obviously the third season was not good enough. I was sacked - probably deservedly because the final responsibility comes as a manager - but the sad reality is they're worse than before.
From the outside, I think they will finish between fourth and sixth - I don't think they are a team capable of fighting for the top two
"Maybe people think that I'm enjoying the situation but I'm not. I have people at the club that I love and I have a lot of respect for the fans. I think they are going to be really in trouble to get not just into the top four but the top six. It's with a sad feeling that I say that."
Commenting on United's display at the London Stadium, Mourinho added: "I can't find any positives.
"We were bad last season, but I don't see any improvement this season - even with three new players (Harry Maguire, Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka)."
Keane 'saddened and shocked' by United
Roy Keane also delivered a damning assessment of Manchester United after the defeat, describing himself as "shocked and saddened".
The former United skipper said: "I don't know where to start. I was shocked and saddened by how bad they were.
"You can lose a game of football but everything about them... they were lacklustre, no quality, lack of desire, lack of leaders, lack of characters.
"It's a long way back for United but scary how far they've fallen."
Souness: United are in difficulty
Fellow Super Sunday pundit Graeme Souness was equally withering in his analysis of United's current plight .
"I'd say this is the worst group Manchester United have had since the Premier League started," said Souness.
"I think Man United find themselves in a very difficult place. They've thrown a lot of money at it. Wherever they go to buy players, there's a premium because it's United.
"People who make the football decisions above the manager have got to hold their hands up. I don't see a quick fix. If you're [Marcus] Rashford, sitting in the changing room, who are you looking at, thinking, 'I want to be a pro just like him?' I could have named 10 players when I was at Liverpool."
Souness added: "I think it's a very hard sell for United to the supporters to say: 'We're now going down the road of bringing young players through and you're going to have to be patient.'
"It's Manchester United - one of the biggest football clubs in the world. It's a very hard sell to the supporters. They are going to turn up and say: 'The youngsters did well today but we lost 2-1. They were just a bit naive.' I just don't see that.
"The pressure is on Manchester United. It's a big, big football club. One of the biggest in the world and maybe in some respects the biggest. With that comes enormous pressure and you don't know how young players will react to having to turn up every week and win."