Peter Schmeichel: Manchester United should be title challengers

Legendary goalkeeper believes Manchester United will be unencumbered by Europa League competition and challenge for the Premier League crown.

There is a debate to be had regarding the elite-level status of Manchester United.

Are the Old Trafford outfit still elite, despite slumping to a seventh-place finish in the Premier League season and missing out on European football for the upcoming campaign?

"I still consider Manchester United to be one of the biggest clubs in the world," said Peter Schmeichel to MirrorSport, who does not believe one year should be able to make a difference. "You could argue we are not because we are not in the Champions League.

"I think you can have one bad year if you bounce back from it, and I think we can. It was an awful season last season. Finishing seventh only has one positive thing - that we are not playing in the Europa League and we can concentrate on the Premier League this season.

"And from having played in the Premier League myself it looks like [Louis van Gaal] is a good guy for the job," Schmeichel said, offering his backing to the Dutchman.

Having taken up the reigns at United following a strong World Cup push with the Netherlands national football team, Schmeichel believes van Gaal's courage in making bold decisions bodes well for club-level success.

"He did one or two things in the World Cup which were quite noticeable and have put his name right up there. They were things no-one else ever dared to do. So he looks to be his own man, who knows exactly what he wants to do - I think we should be contending for the title again this season under him."

Schmeichel continued: "He has always been someone who is at a big club like Bayern Munich and Barcelona and done good things. Hopefully he can do the same at Manchester United.

"It wasn’t great losing that many games [last season] – especially at Old Trafford. If you turn those seven defeats into wins - which we would normally do - then you see we would have been right up there in the table. There was a problem at Old Trafford last season.

"It would be nice for that to go away and to see the team winning again - and hopefully in style.”

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