ANDY COLE has warned Manchester United: You are nowhere near ready to fight for the title.

The Red Devils were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace in their opener.

And boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to axe defender Victor Lindelof for today’s trip to Brighton following that horror show.

United legend Cole reckons not even landing top target Jadon Sancho would make his old club a title-winning team.

The former striker, 48, said: “I want to sit here and say Man United will win the league this season — but then I look in the mirror and say, ‘Why am I lying?’

“There’s no point me trying to dress it up. We have to be honest and United are two to three years away.

I am not saying this is Manchester United’s little dicky patch at the moment because they can’t afford it to be.

“If you buy Jadon Sancho for £109million, does that mean Manchester United are going to win the league?

“It might take them a bit closer, but we are saying now that one player could possibly take you a little bit closer to winning the league when you see Liverpool have added two very good players, Manchester City have added two very good players.

“Look at Liverpool, it has taken them 30 years to win the league and they have gone through loads of different players to get there.

“And you look at  City, how many years did it take them to win the league, how many players have they gone through?

“I am a realist. I know if they brought in Sancho he would improve Manchester United. Would he improve Manchester United to the point where they would blow away the other two teams? I am not quite sure about that.”

Lindelof is likely to be the big-name casualty after a poor performance in the defeat by Palace.

Fit-again Eric Bailly played alongside Harry Maguire in the 3-0 EFL Cup win at Luton and Solskjaer wants them to form a regular partnership.

The United boss said: “I think last season proved to us how we can defend at our best.

“Yes, last week wasn’t fantastic. We conceded sloppy goals but I think our defensive record from last season showed with Eric and Harry how good a partnership they were. But also the whole team defending as a team.

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“Eric is fit again now, which is a big bonus and a big plus for us and I’m looking forward to seeing him develop and playing more games this season because we’ve been waiting for him to first be fit and then playing more regularly.”

Cole has made it clear the team need to get points on the board early to take the pressure off when things get tough later in the season.

He added: “At my time at Manchester United, the manager always wanted us to have a good start, because you knew at some point you would go through a dicky patch.

“If you have got your points on the board early doors, when you go through that little dicky patch you can look back and say: good job we got our points early doors.

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“I am not saying this is Manchester United’s little dicky patch at the moment because they can’t afford it to be. They’ve got to get a positive result against Brighton and then look to continue to build from there.”

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