Manchester United's transfer supremo Ed Woodward is just as responsible as Jose Mourinho for the club's current malaise, according to Paul Ince.
A title challenge looks all but impossible even before the halfway point of the season and a top-four spot is looking increasingly unlikely with Chelsea sitting 11 points clear.
Mourinho has taken the brunt of criticism for his negative tactics at Anfield, with many tipping the Portuguese manager to lose his job before the new year.
But according to Ince, Mourinho has been let down by Woodward's transfer dealings.
"Mourinho is the one who fronts it because he is the football manager but Ed Woodward is the one in the stands," the former United midfielder told Goal.
"He is not a football man, he is a business man. The club is the richest in the world from a business point of view, we understand that. But when Mourinho says at the start of the season that we need two centre halves and he can’t get them, then someone has got to take the can. It can’t always be Mourinho.
"I presume Mourinho would have had a list saying that these are the six or seven players that I want to play for Man United to compete against the other boys.
"They didn’t get them. When they didn’t get them and the results don’t go well, as much as you point at Mourinho, you have to also point at Ed Woodward because he didn’t get the players he wanted. Klopp got the players he wanted.
"Why is [Virgil] Van Dijk going to Liverpool and not Man United? If you ask me now which Man United player would get into the Liverpool team? Only the goalkeeper. That’s where we are now. At the moment he is the only one who would get into the Liverpool team.
"When you look at some of the players that the other clubs have got, why didn’t United get those players? Fred doesn’t even play. Sanchez doesn’t want to be here and wanted to go to City first. Pogba doesn’t play. Players who were bought for £80m-£50m don’t even play. You are right in questioning the recruitment because recruitment is the most important thing in football."
When asked why United's signings continue to fall flat, Ince suggested that a lack of mental strength may also be contributing.
"I think the players he is bringing in can’t deal with the pressure to put on a Man United shirt and you are seeing it in the performances. [Anthony] Martial is a prime example," he added.
"For me, he is the most talented player in United’s squad but he can’t deal with the pressure, week-in, week-out. When you are playing for Man United, you have to do it every week. You can’t be four out of 10. You have to be seven or eight out of 10 every week. That’s in games and in training.
"It has changed and you feel because these players have come in, can they deal with all this and with the rivals winning week-in, week-out. You’ve got to look at whether they have the desire and toughness to deal with that pressure. Not all of them, but a lot of them haven’t.
"Look at Kevin De Bruyne, he has every attribute you want in a player. His work-rate, talent, decision making. Nine times out of 10, he makes the right decision, you don’t see that for any outfield player at United. Not one. I don’t see it. I don’t see anyone and the proof is in the pudding."
Paul Ince is a Paddy Power ambassador, to read more go to news.paddypower.com.