Schmeichel talks up Hernandez impact for CL final

Schmeichel talks up Hernandez impact for CL final

Published May. 23, 2011 3:26 p.m. ET

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 said.