Manchester United legend sat down with 888sport to discuss the Red Devils prior to Sunday’s huge clash with Liverpool
Former Manchester United winger Andrei Kanchelskis believes it is a case of back to the future at Old Trafford with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reintroducing attacking football.
“Everybody looks back to 1993 and 1994 when United had Cantona, Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs, myself and Roy Keane and it was more attacking play.
“It was excellent football and we had some great teams. People liked the football demanded by Sir Alex Ferguson, who was a great coach. He would insist we win, win, win every match and we attacked every match.
Now it is like it was before. Mourinho didn’t like attacking football but Solskjaer does and the people are happy again.”
It is not only the paying public who are delighted at the return of the baby-faced assassin, this time prowling the technical area in a natty blazer rather than the six yard box.
Kanchelskis too is clearly pleased at the temporary appointment that has so far proven to be a huge success.
“I am very, very happy about Solskjaer because he’s a good coach. He has got Manchester United in his bones and he knows what is needed. He was there a long time playing and now I’m so glad that he’s back.
“Whether he stays we will see what happens at the end of the season. At this moment they are best leaving him to coach and giving him a chance.
Belief – along with a good dose of confidence – is at the core of United’s recent resurgence that has seen them claw back a large deficit of points and move up to fourth in the Premier League.
The ex-United, Everton and Rangers wide-man points out that it is not only the team that is benefitting but individuals too.
“Martial is a great player and we see that again now under the different style and system being played.
“It is more relaxed now than under Mourinho and that is why we’re seeing better results for Manchester United because players like Martial are enjoying their football.“
The same is said of Alexis Sanchez who this week candidly admitted to feeling marginalised under the previous regime.
“Sanchez is in a different situation now. Being coached by Mourinho and being coached by Solskjaer is very different. Now he is playing in a different system and is being told that he is wanted. That to me is everything.”
It is not however all peaches and roses and ahead of a monumental M62 derby with Liverpool this Sunday.
The 50 year old – himself presently a coach at Navbahor Namangan in Uzbekistan – doesn’t mince his words when it comes to a superstar whose influence can sometimes wane on the biggest stages.
“Everybody is talking about Paul Pogba and how he is in the big games. Now we will see against Liverpool, in a big derby against an excellent team. At the moment he is no leader. In the past we had Roy Keane and Steve Bruce. Cantona. These were leaders. At the moment Manchester United don’t have one.”
What they do have however is a terrific goalkeeper whose outstanding and consistent contribution in nets has led to him being voted Player of the Year four times since 2014.
Does this make him an Old Trafford great? Absolutely. Does this make him number one? Kanchelskis thinks not.
“For me De Gea is the big man, a great player. He is the best around at the moment.
“I liken him to Peter Schmeichel because of how much he helps Manchester United but in my opinion Schmeichel was better. He was the best goalkeeper I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The Spaniard will be hoping he doesn’t have to prove his worth too often this weekend as United host their bitter rivals in a ferocious clash expected to have a global audience nudging close to a billion people.
Kanchelskis – a two-time Premier League title winner with the Reds – will certainly be one of them, his allegiance left in no doubt.
“I hope Manchester United win. I’m a big supporter of them of course. It will be a good story if United win, with them having won so many trophies and Liverpool not winning a title for 29 years.”
“Now Liverpool have a good chance so it would be good if United can help stop them. It would be great. Everybody around the world will be watching this game.”