David Moyes has inherited a Manchester United squad in need of a major overhaul, Jonathan Northcroft told The Sunday Supplement.
United are currently languishing in eighth in the league, with Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Southampton heaping further pressure on new Old Trafford boss Moyes.
The former Everton manager has struggled to get the best out of his United squad since taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer and has come in for criticism in the wake of a poor run of recent form.
However, Northcroft says Moyes arrived at the club to find an ageing group of players desperately in need of an injection of pace and energy.
"I don't see negativity in the team - they hit the bar twice after going 1-0 up - but there are structural problems that Moyes has inherited he's trying to sort out," said the Sunday Times man.
"For me, the key players in the team are a little bit old and the team overall lacks a bit of pace and energy.
"Liverpool had more pace and energy than them at Anfield and Southampton - who have been the surprise package of the season and are really good at the moment - overwhelmed Man United at times with their pressing.
"It's going to take a couple of transfer windows to sort that out - and that's the problem for David Moyes. They need to get to those transfer windows in good enough positions, and with pressure off them sufficiently, for them to make the changes."
Football writer Paul Smith agreed and backed the managerial ability of the former Everton boss.
However, he said the different culture at Old Trafford, compared to Goodison Park, has added to Moyes' challenge, while Ferguson may have picked the perfect moment to exit United.
"I like David Moyes and I think he's a great manager," said Smith.
"But he's come from a club, Everton, with no money, where he's used to working with limited expectations because no one expected Everton to go and win trophies. He's arrived at the biggest club of all where expectations are you win, win, win. And that brings pressure.
"But I think Sir Alex Ferguson picked his timing right to leave because he felt that squad was running out of steam. The way they won the title last season, it wasn't the best United team but the competition was inept.
"Ferguson reached the point where he went 'this needs a major revamp; a manager who can come in with his own ideas about taking Man United on'.
"The problem is Moyes has inherited this, all the pressure of managing United and those expectations and suddenly he has the world down on him.
"It will be a big achievement if they win one trophy this season."
However, despite concerns about the strength of United's squad Steve Bates from The People said things are going much worse at United than anyone would have predicted in the summer.
Regardless of the United board insisting Moyes has time to succeed at United, Bates reckons another disappointing result at home on Saturday against Stoke could heap a lot of pressure on the Scotsman.
"The disturbing thing about it all is it's unravelling slightly in an area where you wouldn't expect it to and that's losing home games to teams like West Brom and drawing with Southampton - the kind of matches which were almost like a given to Manchester United," he said.
"Now we are reaching a point where United's next home game at Stoke next Saturday has suddenly become a huge, huge game because if United were to lose that then the pressure is going to be on David Moyes before they've even got to ten games in the Premier League - and that's a situation I don't think anybody at the club or anybody else envisaged.
"Nobody thought for one minute it would be a super-smooth transition and that there would be no bumps along the way but Moyes is coming in for some serious criticism for being negative, his substitutions were questioned yesterday and all of these things come in to play.
"United had the chance yesterday to kill the game off and under Sir Alex Ferguson past United teams, having broken through to get the first goal, would have gone and won that by two or three goals. But that's just not happening."
Click on the video above to hear the panel discuss how the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson and the success enjoyed in his era at the club is affecting the new regime.