Nothing compares with Cantona's Red Devils
Cantona says his United vintage of the '90s will never be bettered
Manchester United will win the English Premier League soon, says Eric Cantona, but there will never be a team to compare with the all-conquering Red Devils of the 1990s.
Cantona, one of the club's greatest players, says some things will never be the same again.
In an exclusive interview with The New Paper, the 50-year-old Frenchman, who was in town to promote the Hautlence Vortex Primary watch he helped design, said: "Jose Mourinho is a very successful coach and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a very successful player, so I believe Manchester United can win the Premier League again.
"With Paul Pogba's record transfer fee, they have shown they can buy whoever they want.
"Back in the '90s, we spent but not as much. We had a very special group of young players from the academy like Paul Scholes, David Beckham, the Neville brothers (Gary and Phil), Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt.
"And we were very consistent. We played good against smaller teams and even better in the big matches. We lost very few games (six or less in a league season and 10 or less across all competitions) and could go unbeaten for 10 matches at a go every season I was there."
The current United side have hardly hit those heights.
Mourinho's team have been patchy, having already lost three times in eight games.
The 2-1 derby defeat at Old Trafford was especially painful, as the manner of the loss suggested Pep Guardiola's team were the ones most equipped to become kings of English football.
Cantona knows what it's like to be a derby hero - he scored eight goals in seven derbies, winning six and drawing one.
The United fans never lost faith in him, unlike Wayne Rooney.
Many among the United faithful have questioned Rooney's place in the team, either arguing the skipper be dropped or even sold.
With the 30-year-old Englishman benched against Leicester City last week, United romped to a 4-1 win.
Cantona scored 82 goals in 185 games for United across five seasons and won four EPL titles and two FA Cups before retiring abruptly in 1997, the season he was named as captain.
Quite certainly, he knows all about leaving on a high.
Of the Rooney conundrum, he said simply: "Rooney has been a big part of the club's success. But he must know when is his time."
Among the new faces at Old Trafford, there has been much excitement surrounding the free transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, not least because some believe the Swedish superstar shares similar traits with the Frenchman.
Weeks before he arrived in Manchester, Ibrahimovic said: "I admire Cantona... But I won't be King of Manchester. I will be God of Manchester."
Cantona inspired a generation of youngsters and United hope the Swede can do the same for Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.
Cantona, though, knows where everyone sits at the club.
Laughing as he pointed to his chest, Cantona said, with his trademark impudence: "You know, he knows and I know, there can only be one."
BY THE NUMBERS
4 Eric Cantona won four EPL titles and two FA Cups before retiring abruptly in 1997.