Pep Guardiola has “lost some of his aura” and failed to build on Manuel Pellegrini’s reign at Manchester City, according to Niall Quinn.
He is, however, destined to end the 2016-17 empty-handed and sweating on Champions League qualification.
Quinn feels Guardiola has struggled to take City forward since inheriting the reins and is no longer considered to be the fearsome foe he once was.
The former Blues striker told ESPN FC: "Whatever happens in the final weeks of the season, this is not what was expected of Guardiola when he came in to City and he will need to make big improvements next season.
"For 10 games at the start of the season, City dazzled and Pep looked like he was the second coming. It seemed as if he had some gold dust and was sprinkling it on City, but that honeymoon period didn't last long and we reach the end of the season with so many questions for him to answer.
"He has lost some of his aura and if he is honest in his end of year review, he hasn't done anything his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini didn't do last season.
"In fact, he has done less because Pellegrini won a trophy with the League Cup last season and he also got further in the Champions League than Guardiola [City reached the semi-finals last season], so there are big questions to answer.
"In my eyes, there hasn't been any definitive improvement at City, which is a big surprise when you consider the reputation Guardiola had when he arrived.
"City have looked good going forward at times, but defensively, you would say that have gone backwards and that needs to be addressed.
"If Pep is going to kick on next season, and he certainly needs to, then he needs to focus on his defence and deciding whether or not his brand of football needs to be modified to be successful in the Premier League."
City head into Thursdays’ eagerly-anticipated Manchester derby date with United at the Etihad Stadium perched just one place and a solitary point above their arch-rivals in the Premier League standings.