Manchester United cannot dominate the Premier League like they used to as the financial gap between the Red Devils and other clubs in the English top-flight has closed in recent years, according to manager Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager believes United's decline began in the final years of Sir Alex Ferguson's era as other clubs grew in power courtesy of the shared TV rights deal.
The Red Devils remain stuck in the sixth place in the Premier League despite not losing a league game since October.
"I think the club got so used to winning and having success, maybe they didn't realise other clubs were growing, even when Sir Alex was in his last years at the club," the 54-year-old was quoted as saying by the Mail on Sunday.
"The Premier League were creating conditions for the other clubs to become financially powerful and that has definitely transformed the league.
"Nowadays all clubs have grown and with TV rights being shared, it's almost unique in European football.
"It has allowed that difference in power to be slowly diluted, in a way that Manchester United stopped being the all-powerful Manchester United, and became part of a group of five, six, seven very powerful clubs. They are followed by other clubs, less powerful, but not poor clubs."
Most popular: Tony Pulis expects Arsene Wenger to stay at Arsenal
United last won the league title in Ferguson's final season in 2013 and have finished seventh, fourth and fifth, respectively, in subsequent campaigns.
Mourinho attributed the Manchester club's decline in recent years to a confluence of factors, including Ferguson's retirement.
"United had a bit of everything happening at the same time. The exit of Sir Alex, unique and more than just a manager, the change of powers in the Premier League and a period of instability at Old Trafford; three managers in three years if you count Ryan Giggs," he noted.
You may be interested in: