Man City and Pep Guardiola deserve everyone’s praise. But let’s never forget Man Utd’s impressive legacy
There is no team in Europe that can compete with them. They will end the season with a treble and could one day go down in history as one of the greatest teams in history.
But as brilliant and stunning as Manchester City was at times, I’m sorry. . . I disagree with those who say the Premier League has never seen football like this.
Of course they were fantastic, the first half against Real Madrid was out of this world and I love Pep Guardiola.
For 45 minutes, Madrid were without a shot and if it weren’t for Thibaut Courtois, City could have had half a dozen.
It was the best I’ve seen this season, but for me some of what Manchester United have played under Sir Alex Ferguson has been on par and sometimes even better.
I know it won’t make me popular with City fans but the way United have consistently blown teams away was just something else.
He didn’t just build one site, but several of them. But I look at the team with Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs and Andrei Kanchelskis, Roy Keane and Paul Ince and I’m like, wow.
There was that with Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham coming off the bench.
They had David Beckham and Ryan Giggs at winger and Gary Neville and Denis Irwin at full-back.
Paul Scholes was impossible to get close to, Jaap Stam was a giant at the back and Keane ran in midfield. No wonder teams were beaten before they were eliminated.
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It’s also true when they say so. And I always remember a story from when I ran Portsmouth and had a lovely kid called Linvoy Primus who was very religious.
Before a game I swapped squads with Sir Alex, went back to our dressing room and there were only about three players.
When I asked where the others were, someone said, “Linvoy has started a prayer group and there are a lot of guys in the shoe room with him.”
I looked at the names on the paper in my hand and said, “Good enough. . . I think I’d better go and join them!”
But that’s how good United were – they dominated English football for years and I can’t stand it when people say, ‘Oh yeah, but they never scored 100 points.’
There were a lot of good teams back then, you really had to work to win.
And while it wasn’t that long ago, you could afford a lot more.
Playing against someone like Wimbledon was scary for a manager, let alone the players, believe me!
What made Sir Alex special was the way he tweaked things every year. That’s what Pep is doing now and he was great.
The Crazy Gang would bang on your door, yell at the players in the tunnel and really get stuck inside.
I’m not sure how the city and the modern part of the city would have coped with that.
That’s why I always laugh when people say that the best players back then wouldn’t be able to handle the speed of the game today.
That is trash. It should be the other way around, because back then you sometimes had to walk ankle-deep in the mud with tackles that made your eyes water.
What made Sir Alex so special was the way he tweaked things each year, just bring in one or two and off you go. And he also knew when to sell them.
To be fair that’s what Pep is doing now and he was great. But in Fergie’s day, recruitment was very different.
He knew every player simply because most of them were from Britain at the time. And of course we will never see so many players from the youth team again.
I’m not one to say, “This or that team from one era would beat this or that from another,” so I won’t engage in that debate.
And given the brilliant job he’s done at City, it could well be that one day we’ll say that Pep and his City team are the best ever.
But really, we should just make the best of watching them because there’s one thing no one can argue with. . . They are in a league of their own at the moment.