Manchester United will not be in contention for the Premier League title next season, says former chairman Martin Edwards, with “a rebuilding job” and patience required at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have not come close to securing domestic dominance since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 with a 13th crown added to his remarkable roll of honour.
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all failed to force the club back into contention, with the baton having now been passed to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He is considered to have much work to do when it comes to waking a sleeping giant from a slumber that is set to see them without Champions League football again for 2019-20.
Edwards, who enjoyed plenty of success during his reign at United between 1980 and 2002, told talkSPORT of the situation at Old Trafford: “I can’t see them challenging for the title next year.
“I think it needs a rebuilding job, I think they need certain players. I think United supporters are going to be patient.
“And I think with Ole they will be patient than previous managers because he is one of our own.
“He’s been a player, he’s popular, he understands the club, he makes the right noises, he’s enthusiastic.
“So I think he will get support from the supporters and I hope he gets support from the management.”
Edwards believes Solskjaer will be the man to turn fortunes around at United, with a member of the club’s 1999 Treble-winning squad aware of the long-term project he needs to piece together.
“It’s been difficult since Alex Ferguson left, Ole is now the fourth manager,” added Edwards.
“I don’t think any of them found it particularly easy, so we’ve sort of slipped backwards a bit.
“Ole came in and did a great job earlier on in the season, I think it’s been difficult since – the last few games.
“We’ve struggled a bit, particularly against Barcelona in Europe. But I think Ole now needs to be given support to start building again.
“We are back from where we were, but we are still a high-profile club, we still have a huge worldwide support, we still get good income, so we have a chance of rebuilding.
“So there is some hard work down the road, obviously with the current management and owners and everything else, and let’s hope that Ole can do it from the management point of view.
“It’s not an easy job, it’s not been easy following Alex Ferguson, he’s started well but I think now he’s finding out how hard it is.
“But hopefully, with a bit of support, he gets the players he wants in and going forward he can rebuild it.”
Solskjaer has admitted that a squad refresh is on the way this summer, with United having been held to a 1-1 draw away at relegated Huddersfield on Sunday to see a finish outside of the top-four confirmed.