Peter Schmeichel: 'Difficult for anyone to do similar job' to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United

Peter Schmeichel spoke to ITV Granada Reports at the premiere of 99, a documentary about the treble-winning Manchester United team.

Former Manchester United player Peter Schmeichel has admitted it will be "very, very difficult" for the club to get back to the level it was at when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.

The goalkeeper said he did not believe anyone could easily replicate the success of Ferguson, who managed United between 1986 to 2013.

During his spell the club won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles.

United are currently sitting down in eighth place in the Premier League, with only an FA Cup final against Manchester City to come to try to save their season.

"I don't want to criticise unnecessarily, but you can see what's happened since he left, it's not been the same," Schmeichel told ITV Granada Reports.

"It's very, very difficult to get back to that level, so it's going to be difficult to think that someone can come in and do a similar kind of job."

Manchester United's treble victory parade in 1999 Credit: PA images

Schmeichel was speaking at the UK premiere of a new three part documentary about United's historic treble in 1999, when the club won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League - the first English side to do so.

99 features interviews with Sir Alex, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, and others talking about that extraordinary season 25 years on.

Much of that history-making squad got together at a red carpet event at Manchester's Printworks on Thursday 9 May.

Beckham led the way, with Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham, Nicky Butt, Jesper Blomqvist and Ronny Johnsen also at the event.

David Beckham posed on the red carpet Credit: ITV Granada

ITV Granada Reports Sports Correspondent David Chisnall spoke to Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, who both admitted 25 years on winning the treble is still very special.

Andy said: "It doesn't feel like 25 years ago but it certainly is.

"It's going to be nice to catch up with some of the boys to see how we've all come out, because we all put a hell of a lot of work into it at the time, and we were all going through different things, so I'm really looking forward to sitting down and watching it".

Dwight said: "It's a historical moment in British football, let alone Manchester United and to be part of that journey it's nice to be reminded of that and to celebrate it".

Granada Reports David Chisnall spoke to Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke

The documentary also details how Sir Alex Ferguson resigned as Man United manager on the eve of the treble-winning 1998-99 season as he asked the club "do you want me to call it a day?", but performed a U-turn less than 24 hours later.

Dwight told ITV Granada: "Obviously we're glad that the gaffer didn't leave because we probably wouldn't be here to tell the story".

David Beckham also said he hoped the documentary can inspire the current under-performing players.

Beckham’s Studio 99 company was involved in the production of the three-part series.

Asked whether Erik ten Hag’s players should be inspired, the former winger told talkSPORT: “We’d like to think so and that’s one of the reasons why we want to make things like this.

“Obviously it’s been a tough five, 10, 15 years at United and we all know that but it was never going to be easy when the boss left, (Roy) Keane left, Giggsy (Ryan Giggs) left, Gary (Neville) left.

“All of these important players and personalities and characters all left United, it was always going to be a difficult time.

"We want the lads to feel – from this documentary – the inspiration of being this successful.”

Ten Hag has come under fire for United's performance. Credit: PA Images

Beckham said he believes the players must take their share of the blame, saying: “You’d hope that the manager doesn’t have to do much.

“I think that’s the whole point of being a Manchester United player and playing in these big games – you should be motivated.

“When you’re a professional footballer and you’re doing the job you love and you’re at the club you love, when you’re playing in any game, whether it’s a regular season game or whether it’s an FA Cup final against your rivals, that should be enough motivation.

“And, if it’s not, then you’re in the wrong team and you’re playing the wrong sport. We went into every game, whether it was a youth cup game, a friendly game, off-season or a European Cup final, with the same mentality and the same drive.

“We all know Erik’s a very qualified manager and a good manager and he has the right motives.

“We were lucky in our day that we had Sir Alex Ferguson, we were lucky that we had Eric Harrison and Jim Ryan and Nobby Stiles and all of these great managers and motivators.”

99 launches on Amazon Prime Video on 17 May.

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