BRYAN ROBSON believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is paying the price for letting so many senior stars go this summer.
Manchester United are a lowly 12th in the Premier League having won just twice in their opening eight games.
And Red Devils legend Robson claims they made a huge “mistake”, and left themselves “short”, by allowing the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera to leave.
United have been forced to rely on Marcus Rashford, 21, and rookie Mason Greenwood, 18, up front following their summer shake-up.
Big-name forwards Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez both departed to Inter, while boss Solskjaer’s attacking options were further limited by a subsequent injury to Anthony Martial. Experienced midfielder Herrera, 30, also joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
And centre-half Chris Smalling went on loan to Roma, meaning United have had to blood academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe, 21, at the back.
Robson, 62, a global ambassador for the Red Devils, said: “I think United’s mistake so far is allowing too many experienced players to go.
“We have had quite a lot of injuries at this stage of the season and they have left themselves a little bit short.
“That is why they are where they are. Lukaku, Sanchez, Herrera, Smalling — these are very experienced players.
“In this situation, you need those type of experienced players, rather than kids, to steady it.”
And Robson also reckons Solskjaer blundered by not replacing Lukaku.
England star Rashford has been out of sorts this season, scoring just once from open play, while Frenchman Martial has been out since August with a thigh strain.
Robson added: “Unfortunately, Martial has a long-term injury and you can’t carry that when you let two top-class strikers go and don’t replace them.”
LACK OF LEADERS
Robson won two titles, three FA Cups and European Cup Winners’ Cup in his 13 years with United, becoming the club’s longest-serving skipper.
And the man who earned the nickname ‘Captain Marvel’ has lamented the lack of leaders at Old Trafford.
Robbo explained: “Whether it is a centre midfielder or a dominant centre-half, you need a leader to organise on the pitch.
“Manchester United and others are looking for that type of player.”
Robson, though, insists under-fire manager Solskjaer must be given time to turn things around.
He added: “They have hung their hat on Ole being the man for the job, and reinvigorating their youth policy and developing more kids coming through the ranks.
“United bosses said they would give him time and they are happy to go with the policy.
“They made that really clear when they gave him the job last year. That helps a manager.
“The good thing with Ole is that the fans are right behind him as well.
“It is more difficult when the supporters go against you — but the United fans are right behind him.”