United's former goal keeper Peter Schmeichel enjoyed eight glory-laden years with the Reds. We caught up with the Great Dane at a feelfootball.com coaching event in Manchester to discuss if the current crop has what it takes...
What have you made of United’s performances so far this season?
It’s starting to smell of big times again. I know we lost against Bolton but defeats give you a reality check and United know they need to keep working hard. Traditionally United are a stronger team come the latter part of the season and I think things look good. My main concern is when the big players are absent. I don’t believe we can play without Wayne Rooney or Nemanja Vidic. They are too important for us. Carlos Tevez is a great signing and one year down the line he and Wayne will be perfect together. But I still believe we need another striker. For me, Vidic has been the key to the defence. And he’s made Rio [Ferdinand] into a top class player. I thought Rio was a very good player before, but since Vidic has arrived they’ve got a settled partnership and Rio has developed brilliantly, just like Vidic.
Sir Alex recently commented that this is the strongest squad he’s ever had. You’ve been part of great United squads – how does this one compare?
The history of the club is something that is constantly breathing down your neck when you’re a United player. That history and the expectation level makes you go that one step further than any other player at any other club in the world. When I first joined, the history we had to deal with was the Busby Babes, 1968 and the fact that we hadn’t won the title for over 20 years. The desperation to win it was incredible and we all felt that. The current squad did brilliantly to win it last season and they have a great chance to go on to big things, but they have history on their shoulders as well because they have ’99 to contend with which is a hell of a year to compete with. So, of course, the manager has got to go out there and say they’re the best squad he’s had. He has to make the players believe that and that’s a good way of doing it. He said it in the past when I was there and after I left. What he’s saying is I’m extremely happy with what I’ve got and I love to work with these players. If Sir Alex is happy United will win matches which is the most important thing.