Manchester City may have invested millions in an “incredible” squad, but Peter Schmeichel feels their inability to claim Champions League glory makes Manchester United’s Treble-winning exploits all the more impressive.
The Red Devils boasted a star-studded squad of their own back in 1999.
Sir Alex Ferguson guided them to Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League glory in the same season, making history in the process.
No English side has been able to emulate that achievement since, with City’s dreams dying 20 years on when they suffered a semi-final defeat to Tottenham in European competition.
The Carabao Cup holders can still pick up three trophies this term, with the Premier League title and FA Cup in their sights, but they Schmeichel says they will still sit behind United.
The former Red Devils and Blues goalkeeper told the Evening Standard: “It underlines how special our achievement was.
“I’m not going to hide behind us being fantastic and really deserving to win. When you look at how we ended up winning all three, we were very good, we worked very hard, we knew exactly what we had to do. But so did Arsenal.
“They were equally as good, they knew exactly what to do. They worked exactly as hard as we did and between our team and their team there was nothing between us. Nothing.
“It all comes down to which way you hit the post. Do you hit it on the inside or the outside, does it go in or does it go out? At times we rode our luck.
“This is how you can put our achievement into perspective, to look at this Manchester City side and think why are they not winning everything because it is such an incredible team?
“It is extraordinary with the players they have in the team. Everyone. Even when [Guardiola] makes five changes you don’t even think about the players who are not playing because they are this good.
“To be able to make five changes and not suffer in the way you play, that is really unheard of in football. So why are they not winning?”
Schmeichel added on United’s efforts in 1999: “Whenever the luck was distributed it always fell our way.
“You will not get anywhere if you are not a great team. It’s simple. If you are not a good team you will never get to the final day of the Premier League season or the final of the FA Cup.
“But we were competing against Arsenal. Arsenal were one of the best teams I ever competed against.
“Man for man we were the same. We had the same strengths. We were different players, but the same strength, height, quality in every position. I think to this day there was nothing between us. Really, I don’t think there was.
“We just had two breaks in the [FA Cup] semi-final. [Dennis] Bergkamp missed a penalty and Ryan’s [Giggs] goal.
“That’s the difference in 180 minutes of high intensity, very dramatic football. So that’s my point. Everything, when we needed it to, it fell our way and that’s important.”