'Man United won't fall like Liverpool'
Schmeichel insists Red Devils will not go long without EPL title, but says van Gaal needs five world-class signings
Manchester United fans need not fear a Liverpool-style decline, following the club's abysmal season in the last campaign when they finished seventh in the English Premier League.
That assurance comes from former Red Devils goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, who is in Singapore at the invitation of Sony Mobile.
Schmeichel, a cornerstone of the United team that dominated the 1990s, insisted the club will not spiral into a sustained period without title success after failing to replace manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Liverpool, who were England's top team in the '70s and '80s, have not been crowned English champions after Kenny Dalglish stepped down as manager in 1991, and Schmeichel told The New Paper: "I don't think that's going to happen (to United).
"We're a different club, and it's a different time.
"When Liverpool went off the rails, it was when the whole of football changed. It was just the beginning of the Premier League, which changed everything almost overnight. The clubs that understood that took off.
"But Liverpool continued to run the club as they always did... and realised far too late that they needed to change as well.
"I'm not saying we'll go straight back to No. 1, but the way we are set-up commercially, for example, means we're in a much stronger position than Liverpool were back then."
The Dane, however, believes the current United team require urgent surgery if they are to recover from a dismal season under the now-departed David Moyes, failing to qualify for European football for the first time since 1990.
Even though he has welcomed the appointment of Dutchman Louis van Gaal as manager, Schmeichel says the club need to sign at least five top-quality players to rejuvenate the team.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand had told TNP in a recent interview that one "Galactico" would be enough to motivate the current crop of players and bring them back to their best.
"Rio said that? Has he lost his mind?" Schmeichel retorted.
Regarded by many as the greatest goalkeeper in history, Schmeichel, who won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a Champions League title in his eight years at United, said: "He's (just left) United, and so has (Nemanja) Vidic, so that's two big players we need to change straightaway.
"And it's no secret we've been chasing a big midfield player for a long, long time now. Ryan Giggs has also retired.
"I think we need as many as five players in the first 11.
"It's not the time for young players now. We need strong, mature players who can go in and change (the club's) direction, and get us back to the top of the Premier League."
The 1.91m-tall hulk does not mince his words when asked what went wrong with United last season.
While popular opinion was that Moyes was out of his depth and struggled to assert himself, Schmeichel is adamant the players had to bear the responsibility.
Recalling United's 3-0 capitulation at Old Trafford to bitter rivals Liverpool in March, he shook his head and said: "We never tried in that game. We looked scared, we didn't fight. I've never come across a United team that never tried.
"And we (spectators) sat there, absolutely mystified. What kind of performance was that?
"That's what I mean. There are players in the team who don't care. It shows, and it's obvious."
Schmeichel described Moyes' departure a few weeks after the Liverpool game as disappointing, because "we became one of those clubs that sack the manager after 10 months".
But, he added: "Football is big business and you need to be at the business end of results. So (sacking Moyes) was what the club decided to do."
He is looking forward to United's revival under Van Gaal.
"It looks a good appointment," said Schmeichel.
"He's got a direction and looks like someone who can get the players to follow it.
"He will bring in players - we know there are players coming in - so he will have players in the dressing room he signed, which is a big difference to what Moyes had.
"And he won't be the guy who follows Sir Alex, so things will be a little easier for him.
"We need to regain the respect. We lost seven games at Old Trafford last season. Seven.
"We need people to be afraid of Old Trafford again, and we can do that only by winning all the games and getting back to winning trophies.
"Is it going to be next season?
"I don't know. But I know the club will bounce back at some point. For sure."
It’s not the time for young players now. We need strong, mature players who can go in and change (the club’s) direction, and get us back to the top of the Premier League.
— Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, on the need for them to sign players
Watch out for Kasper next season
There's a good chance fans will see Schmeichel bellowing at defenders at Old Trafford once again next season.
No, legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has not decided to come out of retirement to help his ailing former team Manchester United after a dismal Premier League season.
But his son Kasper could pay a visit in the colours of Leicester City, who recently won promotion to the Premier League.
Kasper was one of City's stand-out performers in the last campaign, keeping 17 clean sheets, and was named in the Championship Team of the Year for the second season in a row.
He reportedly attracted the attention of a number of high-profile clubs, including AC Milan, Arsenal, Southampton, Olympiakos and even United.
But the 27-year-old is said to be close to agreeing a new four-year deal with the Foxes, and his dad cannot be happier.
"I would rather he stay there and kept developing and help the club establish themselves," said Peter.
"I don't think for one second he really wanted to go outside England.
"And yes, it'd be nice to play for Arsenal or Manchester United, but it's not his time now. His time is at Leicester.
"They started the project three years ago, and he won their Player of the Year once and came No. 2 two other years.
"He's an instrumental player and for his own development, that's the best for him. And he thinks the same."
While Kasper doesn't have the same imposing presence as his father, he certainly has a similar style to the "Great Dane".
Quick off his line, agile and possessing superb reflexes, the younger Schmeichel has been in terrific form since signing for Leicester in June 2011.
Peter tips Kasper to continue his stellar form in the Premier League next term.
"He's already impressed quite a few people," he said.
"I want him to establish himself in the Premier League with Leicester and see if they can stay up.
"If he plays at the same level he's been last season and the season before, it'll be a massive achievement."
Great Dane loves Lion City
Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel can't get enough of Singapore.
Staring out the window of the Club Lounge at Ritz Carlton yesterday, the 50-year-old said: "I love this place.
"The last time I was here (in 2012), I had a fantastic time, and I'm sure I'm going to have another great time.
"The place is beautiful. I could just sit here for hours and just look out."
The former Denmark star is in town at the invitation of Sony Mobile. He visited 313@Somerset and Bedok Mall yesterday to meet fans, and will be at the Suntec City Convention Centre this afternoon to help conduct a football clinic.
Schmeichel said he was thrilled with the reception he got from fans yesterday.
He said: "It's when you come out and you physically see them, that you realise might have done something really good in your life.
"It's been so long since I played (but) when you meet people and they tell you you really were an inspiration to them, it's like: Mission accomplished. It makes me really proud."