Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel expects
Mexico striker Javier Hernandez to have a major impact for the
English club in the Champions League final against Barcelona.
Schmeichel also believes United has learned from its 2-0 defeat
to the Spanish side in the 2009 final and will be much improved in
Saturday’s showpiece in London.
”Two years ago it was kind of disappointing. I don’t think it’s
going to be disappointing this time,” Schmeichel told The
Associated Press. ”It’s an unbelievable final.”
Schmeichel compares Hernandez, nicknamed ‘Chicharito’, to former
teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and expects the 22-year-old striker
to cap his standout season in style at Wembley.
”We’ve got Chicharito and, oh my god, it’s very rare you have
someone who makes that kind of impact in his first season. Ole
Gunnar had the same kind of first season and won everybody over,”
the Dane said. ”He’s an amazing player with an amazing talent and
he must have an amazing mind as well because to do that and keep up
with the pressure has been incredible.”
There’s no secret to beating Barcelona, according to Schmeichel,
who believes patience will be key as United looks to disrupt the
Catalan club’s trademark possession while only letting players like
Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez receive the ball in
areas where they can do the least harm.
”(In Rome) Manchester United’s tactical set up was to sit a
little bit and see how it goes. Some of the players sensed some of
the Barcelona players were nervous and they started to press and
that split the tactics up,” Schmeichel reasoned. ”This time, with
the experience, it’s going to be a much better final.”
Solskjaer scored the extra-time winner in United’s 2-1 victory
over Bayern Munich in a memorable 1999 final, when Schmeichel was
captain. The Dane left the club on that high note and current
United ‘keeper Edwin van der Saar will look to emulate Schmeichel
when the Dutch goalie calls time on his career after the final.
Schmeichel was genuinely excited about a contest he had been
hoping for all season.
”I’m really looking forward to Saturday – I can’t wait,” he