Tuesday 15 October 2019

'It’s like asking if I’d prefer to have teeth made of wood or my legs of sponge' - Eric Cantona on the title race

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Eric Cantona has backed his former Manchester United team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and urged the club to hand him the manager's role permanently, as he admitted the thought of Liverpool or Manchester City winning the Premier League title this season filled him his frustration.

Solskjaer has overseen a sparkling revival at United since he replaced Jose Mourinho in December, with United legend Cantona suggesting the club needed to return to one of its former players to rediscover its soul.

"Finally, the club made the right decision, a decision I think they should have made a long time ago," Cantona told Paddy Power.

"He has got the soul of the club, and you feel that he has been inspired by Alex Ferguson. It’s like Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola in Barcelona – Ole Gunnar is the spiritual son of Alex Ferguson.

"Not all players can become managers, but some of them can, and for me it’s important that at a club like Manchester United you have somebody who has the soul of the club, who understands the club from inside. So today, seeing United, I am so happy.

"It’s important that the manager understands the club, who has the soul of the club. It’s why I said before about Guardiola in Barcelona, he was a player when Cruyff was the manager. He then became the manager of Barcelona with the soul of the club, and the soul of Johan Cruyff.

"You can have a manager that comes from somewhere else, but they need to understand the club from outside – to have the soul of the club. They need to play creative football and enjoy football. Work hard, but enjoy it.

"If the players and the manager enjoy the game, then the fans will enjoy the game. You can win games, but not enjoy it, and I don’t think that’s for Manchester United.

"I don’t know the agreement he has with the club, but for me as a fan – because now I am a United fan – it’s a great feeling to feel the soul of the club, finally.  We lost that since Ferguson retired. And now, it’s a great feeling."

Cantona went on to serve up one of his classics quotes when he was asked whether he would rather see Manchester City or Liverpool win the Premier League title this season, with neither scenario appealing to the enigmatic Frenchman as he responded: "Nobody. It’s like asking me if I’d prefer to have my teeth made of wood or my legs of sponge.

"City and Liverpool play nice attacking football, now and score plenty of goals, which is like Man United. They have the philosophy we did – enjoyment."

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