Peter Schmeichel believes Man United’s infamous playing style should not be diluted in favour of a manager’s philosophy – even Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka.
United’s recent run of form has come in for scrutiny after scoring just one goal in over 400 minutes of play – including three consecutive goalless draws.
The Great Dane is the latest club legend to have a pop at Louis van Gaal’s playing style, but has gone even further and stated that he wouldn’t want to see the Bayern Munich boss at Old Trafford.
Schmeichel told Sky Sport’s Soccer Special that the former treble winner’s arrival in Manchester would be his ‘biggest fear’.
“This is my biggest fear that someone like Pep Guardiola will become the next Manchester United manager,” he confessed.
“Guardiola has a way of playing, he has a system and he sticks to that. He has changed Bayern Munich from what I thought was a fantastic treble-winning team under Jupp Heynckes. [They played] quick football, through the middle, using the width of the pitch, but they were passing the ball and killing everyone they played against.
“He started to make them pass the ball sideways and I don’t think they are as exciting as what they were.”
Schmeichel acknowledges and agrees with the assessment of his former teammates regarding the current state of the club.
“There are former players in the media very critical of the way he plays the game,” he added.
“One player, Andrei Kanchelskis, says he has them playing like robots and I kind of agree with that a little bit because the manager should not decide how the Manchester United players are playing the game. The players are good enough to play the game themselves within a system that the club plays and has been playing for years and years.
It worked for Holland because he had players like Arjen Robben, who was in incredible form, but I think Manchester United is much bigger than that.”
With the likes of Schmeichel, Kanchelskis, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand now having regular criticisms to make of United, the club intriguingly find themselves in a position that rivals Liverpool have encountered for years – with ex-players such as Ian Rush and Mark Lawrenson casting a judging eye over the Anfield manager of the day.
This scenario was rare, if non-existent (barring the irascible Roy Keane) during the tenure of Alex Ferguson.
“I think Manchester United is a much bigger club than any manager in the world and the manager who comes in should respect what it is,” the Dane concluded. “At the moment, I’m not seeing the way I’d like to see Manchester United play.
With a club like Manchester United that have history and traditions, I think the manager at the club should respect that.”
Andy Tate would like to have a word with you, Peter. . .