Paul Ince: United have gone backwards since Ole was named manager

After seeing Manchester United get dumped out of Champions League by Barcelona, Incey says he warned us all this was going to happen.


I was really disappointed in Manchester United for their performance against Barcelona. They came out of the traps brilliantly, and though they should’ve taken their chances, it looked like they were going to go for it which is what we all want to see.

United had nothing to lose at the Nou Camp, but they were scared.

They should be going at Barcelona and that’s what we thought they’d do under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The frustrating thing for me is none of the forwards looked interested in getting in behind – what were Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard doing? They offered nothing.

Score all your Football punts on

We always knew that United were years behind Barcelona, but last night made you realise it again.

Sometimes you can be kidded into thinking that a team is progressing rapidly based on a couple of good results – like the PSG game – but, really, you’ll be found out when you play a team like that.

They’re years away from most of the top teams in Europe, now. When you look at Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona, there’s a huge gap between them and United – it’s a fact. But, a distance in class doesn’t mean you can’t try, and try hard to win.

Ole will need to totally rebuild the team. You look at a lot of the players and think are they really the ones to take Man United forward? Are they going to win trophies with those players in the team?

No. You’ve just paid £50m for Fred – and for what? They need new talent to try and bridge that gulf between other teams.

I always said this would happen

It’s a very, very tough job for Ole to take this team forward.

People are going to have to be patient because United are miles behind their rivals.

What worries me is, since Ole’s been named permanent manager, they look a different team.

They’re playing in a different way. When he was the interim manager they were creating chance after chance, and now he has the job permanently they’ve gone backwards!

I always said the pressure would be on if he got it permanently. I said this would happen months ago. This is why I said it at the time – I’ve seen it loads of times that while a manager is interim the mood picks up and everyone feels like they have a chance. But when he becomes the manager, they’re worse than they were before.

This is what I meant when I said that there was such a cloud over United that all Ole had to do was to come in and change the environment.

No pressure on the players, just go out and play. But now, they’re in a position where they could get top four, and the stress and pressure is on.

They’ve lost their way, and how they’re playing now is no different to how they played under Jose Mourinho – allowing teams to come at them.

I said that they should have waited until the end of the season before giving Ole the permanent job.

The board were forced into that decision because he’d done so well. Fans and ex-players were clamouring for him to get the job, but I couldn’t understand why they were in such a hurry to give him it. If you’d have waited until the end of the season, United would secure top four and then you give him the job.

I’m not necessarily saying they made a mistake, but when they got Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho they didn’t think they’d made a mistake at first.

Everyone keeps going on about how Ole knows the club, but it’s results and performances that matter. He’ll have, hopefully, two years to bridge the gap between United and their rivals and if he doesn’t he knows what will happen.

When the pressure is on, that’s when you truly see how good a manager and his staff are. Michael Carrick and Ole are still learning – they’re inexperienced.  They’ll be reliant on Mike Phelan when the pressure hits and the tough times come.

The real test is here, now. Can this manager and staff get the results to get United to fourth place?

They need to because top players don’t want to play on a Thursday night in the Europa League.

Paul Pogba can’t do everything

People will talk about Paul Pogba and say he should’ve done more.

But, there’s only so much he can do when he’s surrounded by the kind of players he is. If he was surrounded by class players, you’d get to see the real Pogba.

I was fortunate enough to play with the likes of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona – world class players – and they make everyone play better.

United can’t just rely on Pogba and expect that he will do everything, people have to pull their weight and be great around him.

Pogba needs and deserves to be in a team full of top players, and I don’t believe that’s Man United at the minute.

When they’re in the Champions League you realise that a lot of their players just aren’t good enough. You look at Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard when they’re playing lower opposition and they look great – but the fact is, they’re miles behind the top players.

And when you’ve not got many players at the top of their game, who are consistently brilliant, you will keep getting results like we saw last night. They’re being found out.

Find the latest football odds over at