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Dimitar Berbatov has warned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he must strengthen his Manchester United squad or else face a "very long season" in the Old Trafford hot seat.
The Red Devils fell to a 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in their first game of the season in a performance ex-United ace Berbatov labelled "awful".
The north-west giants have only made one signing this window – the £40million purchase of Donny van de Beek from Ajax – and the 5 October deadline is looming.
In light of the dismal loss to Palace, Berbatov believes a new centre-back partner for Harry Maguire is a necessity as his former club aims to reverse its form.
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"I said Manchester United need to hit the ground running, but they did the exact opposite at the weekend," Berbatov told Betfair .
"It was only the first game, but they looked awful – slow, no transition between the lines, I don't remember many efforts on target, and all of that speaks volumes about the attacking prowess of the team. In the end, Palace won deservedly."
The Bulgarian added: "If we just based it on the first game then United are miles off the speed of the other top teams in the league, and so I hope it is just down to it being game one.
Can Manchester United bounce back against Brighton on Saturday? Have your say here.
Berbatov believes a new partner for Maguire is required
(Image: SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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"If it becomes a trend, it could be a very long season. I and others have big expectations for United this season.
"They need a centre-half, and probably further recruitment also to be competitive. At the end of the day, if Crystal Palace can score three past you, you are in trouble.
"As I said, if we only judge on this game, United need to buy a whole new squad! But we can't over-react to one game on its own.
"They have less than two weeks until the window closes, and they can play some more games to figure out what they need in that time, but it's not easy. It can be hard to sign players, maybe the players don't want to come, it is hard to say, but their defence is what they need to work on.
"The goals they conceded at the weekend were poor defensive goals. If they don't strengthen up, it will be a long season for them.
"They need someone alongside Harry Maguire, look at how impressive he has been since he came in, and he is now captain. They need someone who is fast, like Rio Ferdinand was for Nemanja Vidic."
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