Manchester United icon Paul Scholes has questioned if the Red Devils have made any progress since David Moyes' tumultuous season at the helm.
Louis van Gaal's outfit languish in 10th spot on the English Premier League table, picking up 13 points from their first 10 games - four points worse off from last season.
"Louis van Gaal talks about progress. Well, I expected Manchester United to have a better record by this stage of the season," Scholes, who retired in May last year, wrote in his column for the London Evening Standard newspaper.
"It is difficult to figure out what Van Gaal is thinking during games. His demeanour doesn't change throughout. He looks a bit subdued. Certainly he appears very different to the man you saw on the touchline at the World Cup finals."
The former midfielder also questioned the mindset of Argentinian forward Angel di Maria, who was the biggest recruit from the club's £150-million transfer splurge during the summer.
The 39-year-old said: "I am also worried that the mood among the United players seems a bit low key. Preparing for the game in Madrid this week, I watched re-runs of last season and Angel di Maria smiling broadly as he celebrated goal after goal with Cristiano Ronaldo.
"He doesn't seem to be in the same happy mood at United. It feels downbeat among the team."
Noting that third and fourth places are "there for the taking" as rivals Liverpool and Arsenal struggle for form and consistency, Scholes also accused van Gaal of failing to address deficiencies in defence after the departure of veteran players like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra.
He said: "It concerns me that expectation levels have slipped so far that many supporters I know felt relieved at snatching a late draw with Chelsea and losing narrowly to Manchester City. The scoreline against City (0-1 defeat) might have been more respectable than last season but the performance in the first hour of the game was very poor indeed.
"This is Manchester United. It is not simply good enough to play well for 20 minutes and lose."