Roy Keane's interview with Manchester United's TV channel following the loss at Middlesbrough reportedly called for a player clear-out in the new year.
The interview, subsequently withdrawn, also criticised defender Rio Ferdinand.
Keane is quoted as telling MUTV: "Just because you're paid £120,000-a-week and do well for 20 minutes against Spurs, you think you're a superstar.
"There's talk of putting this right in January and bringing players in. We should be doing the opposite."
The 34-year-old, who has been at Old Trafford for 11 years, issued an uncompromising analysis of United's humiliating 4-1 defeat at The Riverside.
"I wasn't surprised by the result - I had been expecting one like this," said Keane.
"The players have been asked questions and they are just not coming up with the answers. I am sick of having to say it and they are sick of listening to me.
"They have let down the club, the manager and the fans.
"The younger players have been let down by some of the more experienced ones - they are not leading. There is a shortage of characters.
"It seems to be in this club you have to play badly to be rewarded. Maybe that is what I should do when I come back - play badly."
Nor did the younger players at the club, currently 13 points adrift of Premiership leaders Chelsea, escape Keane's wrath.
"When they sign the contracts, they think they have made it. They owe it to the manager, the staff and the fans," he said.
"These guys thought getting new contracts was the best day of their careers. They think they have made it. They haven't.
"The fact that (senior players) are out should be enough incentive for those coming in to play better and give more.
"It is not enough to play well for 20 minutes, it is a 90-minute game.
"You get well rewarded but you have to put the hard work to earn those rewards."
The show was due to be screened on Monday but failed to make it to air, with a report on the club's academy side shown instead.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson refused to comment on the matter when quizzed ahead of his side's Champions League clash with Lille at Stade de France.
Keane is currently out of action with a broken bone in a foot.