Andy Cole believes Manchester United are "a few years behind" the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.
The Old Trafford giants have stumbled since Alex Ferguson went out with a bang in 2013, when he retired on the back of his 13th Premier League crown.
United have failed to launch a sustained title bid since then and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side currently sit an eye-watering 37 points behind leaders Liverpool.
The United great knows the path back to the top is unlikely to be straightforward. "Football is a cycle," the former striker said. "Losing Alex Ferguson, him retiring, the next manager, whoever was going to step in, was going to find it really, really difficult.
"I wouldn't liked to have followed him as the manager and that's what it's been. It's been very much trial and error, changing managers and all that.
"But on the flipside, if you look at Liverpool, it's taken Liverpool 30 years to win the Premier League - obviously not the Premier League, but the main league. I don't think it'll take United 30 years to win the league again, but we're still a few years behind the Liverpools and the Manchester Citys."