Manchester United would be challenging for the Premier League this season had Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola replaced Sir Alex Ferguson, says former assistant manager Rene Meulensteen.
Both coaches were understood to be candidates to succeed Ferguson upon his retirement, but the Red Devils opted to bring in David Moyes.
The former Everton boss was sacked just 10 months into his spell in charge of the club and Meulensteen believes Moyes must take sole responsibility for their failures this season.
"Nonsense," he told Dutch magazine Voetbal International when asked if the players were the main problem.
"This group were last year's champions with a difference of 11 points. A manager like Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola would have United near the top, I'm sure."
"They are going to have to build something again. But that takes time and needs patience. In my view, it is more likely that the Glazers want to challenge for trophies again as soon as possible.
"Then you look at CV's and they end up with the names that are around now: Louis van Gaal, Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte and Laurent Blanc."
The Dutchman then admitted he would be open to returning to the club should Moyes' replacement want him back and also went on to insist that interim boss Ryan Giggs has the makings of a very good coach.
"I'm never unhappy with the club. If the next manager thinks I can be of value to the club then I would be open to it.
"I've always thought Ryan can become an excellent manager for United. He knows the club, the culture and style of play that earned them success like no other in recent years. He has charisma. He is outgoing and everyone listens when he says something.
"I expect Ryan will be a Ferguson-type manager. Not someone whose strength is in training and coaching in itself, but someone who can form a very strong team around him."
Reports on Saturday suggest Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal has agreed to succeed Moyes at Old Trafford.