Peter Schmeichel has launched another stinging attack on Pep Guardiola, claiming Manchester City do not have a chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
The former Red Devils goalkeeper claimed in September the Catalan coach is overrated and Guardiola’s City have indeed struggled for consistency in recent months, slipping to fifth in the Premier League table, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.
They remain two points above Jose Mourinho’s United, though, as a tight race for fourth place – carrying with it the final Champions League qualification berth and currently occupied by Liverpool – looms in the second half of the campaign.
Asked who he thinks will emerge triumphant from the duel between the powerhouse teams from Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford, the Dane, speaking at the Abu Dhabi Invitational, replied: “To be completely honest, I think Man United.
“Mourinho has found the groove and he understands now what to do with his football club and the players he has brought in are slightly starting to gel and produce the football and results that we need at Man United.”
Schmeichel was far from complementary about City, who followed up a chastening 4-0 loss at Everton with an encouraging 2-2 draw at home to fellow heavyweights Tottenham in their last two Premier League outings.
“I think Pep Guardiola so far has not been a success,” he said.
“Yes, admittedly he inherited a difficult squad.
“[But] then you expect someone who proclaims he is a genius in football to go in and sort it out but I don’t think they will.
“If I am honest I do not think City have a chance to finish in the top four. I think they have too many problems there and too many players are unhappy.
“I think when you have such a strong person like Guardiola coming in, the changes are too big and the players are finding it difficult to apply it.”
City’s next match is a league game away to West Ham on Wednesday, with United at home to Hull City on the same day.