Gary Neville believes Manchester United ‘need to invest properly’ to prosper in the Champions League next season and close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side secured their return to Europe’s elite competition with a 2-0 win at Leicester City on the season’s final afternoon.
But they ultimately finished 33 points behind champions Liverpool and 15 behind City with former United defender Neville saying the squad still needs improvement.
However, he cautioned that United can’t afford to repeat the poor recruitment made when Jose Mourinho led them back into the Champions League in 2018.
They have been linked with the Borussia Dortmund and England forward Jadon Sancho this summer though his £100m price tag may prove prohibitive.
But Neville said there is no doubt the squad needs greater depth and quality as the Premier League transfer window opens on Monday.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Neville said: ‘I think it’s a big day for Ole, it gives him some peace and demonstrates progress.
‘They can play a different way now, they were very basic in his first six months.
‘With [Mason] Greenwood emerging and [Bruno] Fernandes, they look like they can win games in different ways.
‘They need more players in their squad. The last time they finished in the top four was under Jose Mourinho and they spent £170million in that summer and didn’t invest it wisely.
‘They need to invest it again but do it properly this time to get nearer to Liverpool and Manchester City.
‘They need to improve the first XI. That’s not a detriment to the first XI from today.
‘It’s about making sure they get in players who want to play for the club. United have never really done that.
‘Ole seems to have brought that back in the past 12 months and it’s working, it’s better.’
Neville’s former United team-mate and fellow Sky pundit Roy Keane agreed that United need additional options in several areas.
Keane said: ‘I think they need another centre-half. You want options all over the park. They probably need another striker.
‘It’s about getting quality players but the right characters. You talk about Fernandes, he comes across as a pro, a really nice person.’
United signed Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James last summer and further strengthened with the January purchase of Fernandes.
But United’s recent performances in FA Cup games, when Solskjaer has attempted to rotate his team only to call for first choice players off the bench, have exposed the lack of depth in the squad.
Solskjaer’s side now turn their attention to the UEFA Europa League, which the Norwegian manager says he intends to win, with their campaign picking up in the last-16 stage on August 5.