Former Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has disclosed David de Gea’s “angry” reaction when he told him Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was on a “different level” to him.
The Germany legend turned out for the Old Trafford club between 2015 and 2017 after 13 trophy-laden years in Bavaria, during which time he played alongside De Gea as the Red Devils clinched the 2016 FA Cup under Louis van Gaal and the 2017 Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
Before lining up alongside De Gea at Old Trafford, Schweinsteiger was in a side that included another illustrious international goalkeeper in the form of Neuer at Bayern. He has since revealed De Gea’s disdain at being told he was not as good as the German shot-stopper.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Schweinsteiger said: “When I first came to Manchester United De Gea said, ‘Tell me, am I better than Neuer?’
“I was like ‘No, you’re not. It is a different level.’ He was angry, but I explained why. Whenever he had a great game he would ask me again, I would still say he wasn’t on that level.”
Schweinsteiger was giving his thoughts on De Gea’s mentality prior to the Liverpool defeat on Sunday, in which Man Utd were slaughtered 5-0 by their arch-rivals, with Mohamed Salah rubbing salt in the wounds by becoming the first Premier League player to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford.
The pressure has now intensified by the nth degree on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose position almost looks untenable after that defeat, and even before a ball was kicked on Sunday, Schweinsteiger was suggesting the Norwegian is taking “too long” to make progress at the club.
He added: “Manchester United are still in progress. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeps mentioning that. It takes too long though for me in my eyes.
“If you look at Manchester City or Chelsea and the impact that Thomas Tuchel had on them – it was unbelievable.
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“He knew exactly what the players needed to perform and they have a strategy and a DNA. They have more in their game.
“The experience of Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane will definitely help the team, but the question is how much are they involved in the tactics of the team.
“It is still not 100 per cent clear to me if Manchester United are going to be successful or not.
“They have great names like Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo, and I think that Marcus Rashford will help them a lot in the future because he has been injured. It has not been easy for them.
“But if you compare their football to other teams like Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool or even like Bayern Munich it is not on the same level at the moment.
“United can always hurt you in one game, that is clear to me, especially at Old Trafford.”