have declined since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed permanent manager and the board should have waited longer to make a decision, according to Paul Ince.
Solskjaer was named interim manager of United in December following the sacking of Jose Mourinho
and was given the job permanently in March after an upturn in results.
However he has lost three of his five games since then, including both legs of the Champions League
quarter final against Barcelona - something Ince feels was inevitable, given the change in pressure from being interim coach to full time boss.
UNITED RESULTS SINCE PERMANENT APPOINTMENT OF SOLSKJAER
Mar 30: United 2-1 Watford (PL)
Apr 2: Wolves 2-1 United (PL)
Apr 10: United 0-1 Barcelona (CL)
Apr 13: United 2-1 West Ham (PL)
Apr 16: Barcelona 3-0 United (CL)
Speaking to Paddy Power
, Ince said: 'United look a different team now Ole is permanent manager – I always said this would happen. It's a very, very tough job for Ole to take this team forward.
'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 what I said 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. 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.'
'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.'
Ince also said that while he does not think the United board have necessarily made 'a mistake', their recent run of form showed how far United are from the Premier League and European elite.
In his five games in permanent charge, Solskjaer has overseen home league wins against Watford and West Ham, as well as a defeat at Wolves.
However the big negative has been the performances against Barca - United lost 4-0 on aggregate, including being totally outplayed in a 3-0 second leg loss at the Nou Camp.
Ince has previously been skeptical of Solskjaer, warning fans not to get carried away despite the Norwegian winning 14 of his 19 matches in temporary charge.
Ince said in January: 'We can't get too sucked in with what Ole's done. Let's be honest, it couldn't get any worse at Manchester United before Jose Mourinho left. There was a dark cloud over the entire club, the players, the fans and the staff. It was impacting performances on the pitch.
'Ole's come in, a friendly face at the club with a calming influence and it seems as though the players have upped their effort as a result. The shackles are off, but that doesn't mean that Ole is the right man for the job.
'I could have gone in and done the same thing, so could Steve Bruce. Anyone could have gone in and done what he has done, it wasn't a hard thing to do to give those players freedom and improve the mood.'
Former United midfielder Ince played at Old Trafford between 1989 and 1995, leaving the season before Solskjaer arrived as a player.
Paul Ince was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News. To read more, visit news.paddypower.com