Manchester United have been warned that spending big before the summer transfer window closes may not be the best way of moving forward.
Jose Mourinho has expressed his frustrations over a lack of new signings , with Diego Dalot, Fred and Lee Grant the only new arrivals in what has been a frustrating transfer window for the club so far.
And, with the likes of Chelsea winger Willian and Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic having also been linked, Lou Macari suggests buying big may not be the best remedy and that Mourinho should work with what he's got.
"I don’t think we can look at last season and look at the gap between ourselves and City and say anything else apart from that was probably a true reflection of the way both clubs played," he told Goal.
"Once that happens, the players’ job is to shorten that gap between you and them. What everyone forgets is that there is such a thing as hard work, coming back and bettering yourself, coming back and improving your own game, and trying to bridge that gap.
"But now everyone seems to talk about getting more players in, 'Go get another three, get him, get him'. That hasn’t exactly worked in the last three or four years has it?"
United finished 19 points behind City in the title race last season and Macari is expecting the players' pride to have been hurt, suggesting that if they cannot handle the pressure of playing for the club they are likely to be shipped out.
He added: "It should do [the gap behind City hurt the players]! It was all over by January, and you can’t afford that to happen again.
"The players have got to realise that the demands of any player at Manchester United are colossal. During my 11 years there I saw good players come and go because they couldn’t handle Manchester United, they couldn’t handle the club. Well, you’ve got to! You’ve got to be able to handle it.
"Everyone’s had their say about Jose and everything, but I think the players have got to realise that they’ve got to up their game. And if they do up their game and the crowd see that, the crowd could lift them to a title, because once the crowd get behind you at Old Trafford it can work wonders for you.
"There were too many games last season where nothing happened and there was no reason for the crowd to get up and get behind them. If you can get the crowd responding to what they’re watching then they can help you close that gap."United open the new league season against Leicester City on August 10 before taking on Brighton away from home nine days later.