David Moyes believes that even Sir Alex Ferguson would have struggled to mount a serious title challenge with the ageing squad which he inherited from the Scottish legend.
The former Everton manager finds himself behind his former club in seventh place and it looks unlikely that the current champions will qualify for next seasons Champions League.
The Red Devils have a host of players coming to the end of illustrious careers with centre-backs Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, left-back Patrice Evra, midfielders Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick, and striker Robin van Persie all over 30 years of age.
"People are aware there is a squad that is a bit more ageing, so I think it would have been a tough season for whoever was in charge of Manchester United this year," Moyes told national newspapers.
"And I actually think if Sir Alex was here this year it would be difficult for Sir Alex as well and I'm sure he would be aware of it.”