Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Manchester United did not get their business done early enough in the summer.
The Norwegian has also looked to next summer, when United will hope to do their work more efficiently.
"We do have a clear picture of what the squad is going to look like in June-July. Hopefully, you get as much done as soon as possible.
"With Harry [Maguire] coming in, Romelu [Lukaku] going out, it was late. We do have a plan now."
After he was made permanent manager of the club last March, the former Red Devils striker had spoken of his desire to have his squad in place before the start of pre-season.
United only made three signings last summer and two of them had arrived by then. Daniel James signed from Swansea on June 12, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka moved from Crystal Palace on June 29.
However, £80 million centre-back Maguire wasn't brought in until August 5, three days before the Premier League's deadline for buying players was up.
As for some of their outgoings, Lukaku left for Inter Milan on the buying deadline of August 8, while Alexis Sanchez was allowed to join them on loan on August 29. Chris Smalling moved on loan to Roma the following day.
The late exits of Lukaku and Sanchez meant United did not recruit another forward as a replacement.
They also failed to reinforce in central midfield despite Ander Herrera leaving earlier in the summer on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. Marouane Fellaini had also departed the club in January.
Football writer Kaustubh Pandey and Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette observed the need for United to bring in more players:
Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B
There's a warped type of joy at Solskjaer's failure at #MUFC. No one backed him because he's 'a legend' but it was time to try a new approach. Unfortunately, a squad that showed promise by coming second 2yrs ago now needs incredible investment. And the Glazers won't authorise it.
Solskjaer has already confirmed they won't be doing much in January, though:
Getting their recruitment done early next summer will help them be more prepared for next season, but in the meantime it's likely to be a struggle.
United's thin squad hasn't enjoyed the best of starts this season and sit 10th in the Premier League having won just four of 14 games.
The Red Devils have Paul Pogba to come back from injury—he has played just five times in the league this season—and he'll be a boost when he returns, but it's difficult to imagine this crop of players making up an eight-point gap on the top four without some smart January additions.