Early into the second half during the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola introduced Leroy Sane. Fernandinho hobbled off the pitch, but regardless of his injury, the Manchester City boss was going to make the attacking substitution. For the defending Premier League champions, an extra defensive midfielder against a subservient Manchester United was surplus to requirements. City had to win the game to stay to lead Liverpool in the title race and Sane\u2019s arrival was the need of the hour. Guardiola\u2019s counterpart, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskj\u00e6r had opted for a five-man defence, bringing Matteo Darmian back from oblivion. Solskj\u00e6r gave City a little too much respect to start with and as Sane came, he also failed to make the tactical switch. Nemanja Matic or Diogo Dalot should have been an immediate replacement for Fred. As it turned out, Sane just rolled over Fred, whom Roy Keane described as a \u201cfake\u201d in a post-match TV show. The decision to sack Jose Mourinho before Christmas was spot on. The Old Trafford dressing-room had become toxic under his charge. Appointing Solskj\u00e6r as the caretaker manager, too, was the right decision. A club legend, he brought in the feel-good factor. The team bounced back spectacularly, started winning in the Premier League and made a memorable comeback against Paris St-Germain at Parc des Princes to reach the Champions League quarterfinal. Ole was at the wheel then. The wheel is coming off now. Also read:\u00a0Why Pochettino believes trophies don\u2019t take a team to the next level Solskj\u00e6r is a greenhorn as far as top-level football management is concerned. He indulged Paul Pogba, whose relationship with Mourinho had reached a point of no return. Pogba had posted a cryptic tweet before deleting it, when the club announced Mourinho\u2019s departure. It was in bad taste. Following Solskj\u00e6r\u2019s appointment though, Pogba started to put more effort on the pitch and gradually became the team\u2019s main axis. Then, he suddenly stopped playing to his potential. He is now reportedly flirting with a move to Real Madrid. In fact, the midfielder has become so emboldened that his agent Mino Raiola \u2018cancelled a meeting with the club over a new deal\u2019. According to a British media report, Pogba \u2018has refused to obtain a visa, which would allow him to take part in United\u2019s pre-season tour of the Far East\u2019. Once upon a time, Ryan Giggs used to tear the opponents apart at Old Trafford. Now, Pogba is said to be tearing the home dressing-room apart. This is United\u2019s fall from grace in microcosm. David de Gea, too, has started to play hardball over his new contract, placing a \u00a3350,000-a-week wage demand. Once the world\u2019s finest goalkeeper, the Spaniard is now on a steady decline. He concedes at the near post for fun these days. But Solskj\u00e6r seemingly doesn\u2019t have the personality to rein in his star players. Even a spring chicken like Marcus Rashford, who has achieved nothing yet, has started to show attitude in the dressing-room if reports are true. Mourinho considered Pogba a bad influence and maybe, he was right. Keane, the legendary former United captain, tore into Pogba after the Manchester derby, indicating that the 26-year-old couldn\u2019t be trusted. \u201cI wouldn\u2019t believe a word he says,\u201d Keane said, adding: \u201cThere\u2019s no meaning, no meaning behind it. I don\u2019t even think he believed what he was saying there. He is a big problem, no doubt about it.\u201d United would be better off by offloading both Pogba and de Gea, as they seem to have lost focus to play for the club. But it\u2019s unlikely that Solskj\u00e6r will exert his authority. Seven losses in nine games have created a serious crisis at United. This is the time when strong managers take brave decisions. Sir Alex Ferguson showed courage by clearing out Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside\u2014they were fan favourites\u2014after taking charge. The great manager proved to be right in the long-run. Then again, Sir Alex was one of a kind. Solskj\u00e6r still calls his erstwhile boss the \u201cgaffer\u201d. He needs to take a leaf out of his mentor\u2019s book. Unfortunately, the Norwegian doesn\u2019t look to be the man for the long-term. The United board jumped the gun and played to the gallery by appointing him the permanent manager following his early success. This was despite the fact that a club statement at the time of Mourinho\u2019s sacking spoke about going through a thorough process before picking the right candidate at the end of the season. United let slip a golden opportunity to prise out Mauricio Pochettino from Tottenham Hotspur. They had to break the bank, yes. But \u00a334 million to trigger Pochettino\u2019s release clause was peanuts for a club of United\u2019s financial might. As for the Argentine, although he has now become \u2018Mr Tottenham\u2019, it\u2019s always very difficult for any manager to say \u2018no\u2019 to the United job. The 20-time Premier League champions are living in the past. A large chunk of players are not worthy of the red shirt. A mass clearout and rebuilding have become mandatory. Pochettino would have been the best man for the task by a country mile. An inexperienced manager, limp players and smugness have pushed back United. There will be no Champions League football for them next season if they lose to Chelsea on Sunday. The blame lies squarely on the club owners\u2014the Glazers\u2014and their go-to man, executive vice-president Ed Woodward. For the last five years, since Sir Alex\u2019s retirement, the club is on a sharp slide, football-wise. Without a director in football, there\u2019s no clear roadmap with regards to player recruitment. Woodward is happy to make big-name signings. It helps the club\u2019s shirt sales. Social media went on a meltdown, when Alexis Sanchez was at the piano in his United arrival promo. But the harsh reality is that his signing turned out to be the biggest disaster in the club\u2019s recent history. Sanchez\u2019s reported \u00a3500,000-a-week wage completely dismantled the club\u2019s wage structure. Also, it wasn\u2019t taken kindly by Pogba and company. They started to arm-twist Woodward. As for the Glazers, they use the club as a cash cow, where the proper display of a commercial partner is probably more important than Gary Neville\u2019s inputs. Hope the Glazers know that Neville was the finest right-back of his generation and not a Republican. Joking apart, United are on the verge of retreating into modern football insignificance. It\u2019s now or never.