By PA Sport Staff
Eric Cantona has backed former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to put what he learned from Sir Alex Ferguson to good use and lead Manchester United to another Premier League title.
The Frenchman, who won the league four times – including two doubles – during his four a half years at Old Trafford in the 1990s, is convinced that, like Pep Guardiola did under Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, Solskjaer gleaned what he needed from the Scot during his playing days and he can now mount a serious challenge to the Spaniard’s Manchester City side.
Cantona told Sky Sports News: “It’s important to win any kind of trophies, and United still have a chance to win the league – but a small chance.
📅 Season: 1996/97
🏆 Champions: Man Utd
⚽️ Goals scored: 939
👟 Top scorer: Alan Shearer (25)
🎯 Most assists: Eric Cantona (12) pic.twitter.com/rJNRy2gO6Y
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 16, 2021
“But in the near future, I hope next year they can win the league. Now they have found somebody like Ole, who was a player when Alex Ferguson was manager – like Guardiola was a player when Johan Cruyff was the manager of Barcelona.
“He learned a lot with Johan Cruyff and he became a great manager with the same kind of football identity, philosophy of football.
“Ole was a player when Alex Ferguson was there and he learned a lot. He was lucky to play with Alex Ferguson – like I was, but I decided to do something else, and other players too.
“Ole decided to become a manager, so I think it’s great to have today a manager who knows the identity of this club and the philosophy and the DNA.
“He’s got the DNA of this club and he learned a lot with Alex Ferguson, so I can’t wait for United to win the league again – and it will be soon.”
Second-placed United, who have not won the league since 2013, are currently 10 points behind leaders City with four games remaining and the more realistic trophy opportunity this season will come in the Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26.
However, off the pitch, the club – or at least their ownership – are facing a fresh battle for hearts and minds following the part they played in the European Super League debacle.
A scathing Cantona said: “We’ve heard for 20 years that some rich clubs wanted to build this league and it’s unbelievable that, in 20 years, none of them could anticipate the reaction of the fans and didn’t inform anybody.
“What is unbelievable is that, in 20 years, all the guys went to school until the age of 30 or 35, so they are very smart, intelligent, and none of them could anticipate the reaction of the fans.
“Now they just have to say ‘sorry’ because now they realise that it was just a stupid idea and they had to respect the fans.
“It’s good sometimes that something like this happens and you build something else and something stronger from that. I’m very optimistic. I hope they will use this moment maybe a lot to give more power to the fans.”
He added: “That’s the way Manchester United built this club. In the bad moments and tragedies and success, always try to unite the people and use any moment of history to build this club even stronger.”