Manchester United are “kidding themselves” if they think they can throw money at a few transfer windows and chase down Liverpool in “a couple of years”, says Paul Ince.
The Red Devils found themselves back on the right path prior to football shutting down amid the coronavirus pandemic, with positive progress made under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
There has, however, been plenty of talk regarding long-term rebuilding projects at Old Trafford and 13-time Premier League champions United remain a work in progress.
With that in mind, and given how far Liverpool have pulled clear of the chasing pack, Ince believes it is going to take a considerable amount of time for the Red Devils to come back into contention for domestic supremacy.
The former United midfielder told Planet Football: “It will take a long time to catch up and if anyone at Old Trafford thinks it can be done in a couple of years with some big money signings, they are kidding themselves.
“I would look at the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson as a starting point for where we have got to now, with Liverpool so far ahead of United.
“David Moyes came into United at that time, didn’t get the time or money he needed to do the job and then they moved on to Louis van Gaal, who never seemed to be the right for fit United, despite winning the FA Cup in 2016.
“After that, you had Jose Mourinho and he didn’t look happy from day one, even though he won a couple of trophies in his first seasons.
“It was all about Mourinho sniping at the press, problems behind the scenes with Paul Pogba and there was a general mood of discontent at the club.
“Then they turned to Ole and he is very inexperienced for a job of that size. To manage Cardiff, Molde and then end up in charge of the biggest club in the world was always going to be tough for him and I’m not surprised that he has struggled.
“The end result is there has been a lot of damage caused by the instability at the club over the last six years and at the same time, Liverpool have had stability, especially since Klopp came in.
“Liverpool have had a plan, they stuck to it even when things didn’t go great for Klopp in his first year and now they are getting the rewards.
“At United, managers have come and gone, they’ve had their own ideas on players, spent fortunes on terrible signings and they found themselves 30 points behind Liverpool at the halfway point of the season, which is embarrassing for a club of United’s stature.”
Ince added on the differences between Liverpool and United: “They have a fantastic spine and that’s what United are lacking at the moment, primarily because their transfer dealings have been absolutely horrendous. There is no point beating around the bush here.
“Ed Woodward (executive vice-chairman) has failed in his transfer dealings and I don’t think United can move forward until he is replaced or someone comes in to help with transfers who understands the game.”