Schmeichel hails flexibility
Peter Schmeichel thinks it’s a little unfair to compare Manchester United’s current strikers with the vintage quartet of the Treble-winning season.
Sir Alex has real quality at his disposal up front and has already evoked memories of hitmen Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who shot the club to glory in 1999.
Schmeichel, who skippered the Reds to the final leg of the Treble against Bayern Munich, thinks the game is different in 2012 and United will be more creative tactically in order to bring the best out of the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.
“People have compared the current strikers with the group we had in 1999, but I’d be very reluctant to compare them man-for-man and attack-for-attack,” said Schmeichel, in his club ambassador’s column for United Review.
“The game was different back then, the players were different and we played different systems. We were very much a 4-4-2 side, whereas today we play systems that are much more versatile. We’re more flexible and able to react and change things a lot quicker with the players we have available from game-to-game and also mid-game. And, tactically, I think things have evolved.
“Back in ’99, I think we were just expected to go and score every time we had the ball, but nowadays I think fans appreciate we’ll play a certain way in order to get the result we need. I’m sure we’ll see some exciting football from the lads this season, but ultimately it’s about picking up points and winning the title back.”
Schmeichel insists van Persie’s eye-catching arrival from Arsenal can help wrest the Barclays Premier League title crown back from another of his former clubs, Manchester City.
“I’m very excited about the season ahead,” declared Schmeichel. “And, for me, the signing of Robin van Persie is a real game-changer. By bringing Robin in, we’ve shown our intent for the season – we’ve got the one player everyone wanted and we got him because we can provide a fantastic platform for anyone who has ambitions of winning trophies.
“We have gone from being neck and neck with Manchester City to now, in my opinion, being ahead; our squad has greater depth than anyone else in the league.
“Of course, while things may look very good on paper, lessons must be learned from last season and the players need to go out and do the business. But there is no question we have the personnel to win the title back.”