Louis van Gaal admitted there was nowhere for him to hide following Manchester United’s humiliating Champions League exit.
He came under fire after United were consigned to the ignominy of the Europa League by defeat at Wolfsburg.
Former Red Rio Ferdinand branded the failure to reach the knockout stage “embarrassing” , while Old Trafford legend Paul Scholes dismissed the side as an “average team” with “average performances”.
Van Gaal – who has spent £250million in his 18 months in charge – admitted he can have no excuses.
“At the moment I can’t defend myself because we’re out of the Champions League and every word I say is the wrong one,” he said.
“But when I see the facts, we got further in the Capital One Cup and qualified for the Champions League group.
“We’re still in a good position in the Premier League, so the facts are saying we’re better than last year.
“That’s my answer because I can only give facts. I’m disappointed that we are out of the Champions League.
“It’s a matter of time (before United challenge the best again) because this year it can’t be. I’ve said that to the players.”
United had to win to guarantee a place in the last 16, but crashed out despite taking an early lead through Anthony Martial.
Ferdinand said: “It’s embarrassing. You don’t want to come out of the house, people are questioning you.
“If you strip it back, this squad needs a hard look. There’s no pace or power.
“People are looking around at each other rather than saying, ‘I’ll drag you through’.”
Scholes hit out at Van Gaal and said: “I think he’ll be under pressure now. It’s not a great situation. There was no urgency, threat or quality.
“They are an average team and with an average team you get average performances.”
Former United striker, Michael Owen said: “I think he’s under severe pressure now.
“His league form and position in the table is keeping him afloat, but there must be huge, huge questions now.”