Peter Schmeichel previews Manchester derby
Peter Schmeichel told Soccer AM that the Premier League is becoming ever-more competitive.
Last Updated: 11/04/13 5:27pm
Schmeichel was a firm fixture between the United sticks from 1991-99, with his shot-stopping excellence helping the Red Devils to five Premier League trophies, and he also enjoyed a one-season spell at City in 2002/03.
The goalkeeping legend told Max and Helen that he feels extremely fortunate to have played in England both before and in the Premier League.
"When I played for Manchester United we were very, very good and Manchester City were struggling. It was a big game back then but it wasn't what it is today," reflected Schmeichel.
"I think I played at a great time - a time where we had to create what exists today. When I first arrived at the club the club hadn't won the Championship for a quarter of a century.
"This is where all of the hard work that Sir Alex did for the four years when the fans didn't like him and everybody wanted him out came to a head.
"This is where all of the young players came through but we still had to win the Championship and I absolutely love that time for many reasons.
"I played in the old ground, when fans were still standing - I played in different atmospheres. I'm not saying I'm old-school but it is nice to have that experience as well.
"The Premier League came in the second year that I was in England so I also played in that. So I'm quite happy with the time that I've spent in England."
Schmeichel is adamant that United's 15-point Premier League lead going into this weekend's fixtures shows that Sir Alex Ferguson still possesses the ability to motivate his players in abundance and that City's title success last season provided the perfect catalyst for a commanding season.
"I've been there - when Blackburn won the title in the mid-nineties," he said.
"The whole of our pre-season was all about that. We couldn't let that happen again. We had to bounce back stronger than ever and every team talk was about that. 'We have to win the Premier League, we have to win it in style, we have to play the best football and express ourselves'.
"I think everybody knows that United have won it now. Having said that with six games to go United were eight points clear but 15 points is a big, big ask. City have to win every game and United really have to mess up and I can't see that happening.
"I've seen other pundits come out and say that this season's Premier League season is the worst it has ever been and I kind of disagree because it is so competitive. Who is going to be relegated, for instance? We don't know that yet, it could be any of 10 teams maybe. Who is going to qualify for Europe?
"I think it is brilliant. Obviously you have Man Utd and Man City running it for the last two years. The 15-point gap is not a rule, it's an exception - that's not going to happen again. All of the other clubs are going to re-group and they will cut into that gap next year for sure.
"Chelsea are definitely going to bounce back although we don't know what is going to happen there. Jose Mourinho could come back - there are strong, strong rumours about him being the Chelsea manager next season.
"I'm a very, very big fan of Mourinho. I think we need him back because he gives something to the Premier League but I can't see him at Manchester United."
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