Peter Schmeichel is impressed by Manchester City's development into a major force in English football but believes Manchester United are on the cusp of exciting times ahead of Saturday's derby at Old Trafford.
Schmeichel represented City for a solitary season before hanging up his gloves in 2003 but the goalkeeping great still firmly aligns himself with the red half of Manchester
The Denmark international won five Premier League titles at Old Trafford, during a time when City's standing was far removed from their current heavyweight status, but he feels the crosstown rivalry has generated a particular kind of excitement for many years.
"It's one of those fixtures, when you get the fixture list you look for Liverpool and Man City," Schmeichel told Omnisport.
"When I played you also looked for Arsenal, you don't look for them so much anymore.
"City, they've developed the football club so well over the last 10 years. They are now an incredible force.
"They've got Pep Guardiola as manager. They've got unlimited resources to build and rebuild the club and they have got probably the best training facility in the world. They've cut no corners.
"They are so competitive, they've got incredible players."
Nevertheless, Schmeichel is hopeful United can hold the upper hand this weekend thanks to the arrival of their own superstar manager – Jose Mourinho.
"We have not been playing too well over the last two or three years, it's been up and down," he said.
"The performances have been inconsistent – some good, some mediocre and some very, very bad.
"But it's all turned around now. We've got Jose in and Jose's done really well. You can see straight away his influence on how the team is performing."
After some dour performances under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, Schmeichel is pleased to see an entertainment factor back in United's play – with Zlatan Ibrahimovic quickly established as a terrace favourite - along with hints of the steely resolve from the Alex Ferguson years.
"You can see that he's met Manchester United in the way that he wants Manchester United to be, but there's also a lot of Jose in there – the robustness, the stubbornness," he added.
"At Hull, we scored in the last minute – something we haven't seen in the last three years, so this is something that is keeping me very optimistic.
"The players he's brought in, they are exciting players. We want to see Zlatan play. We want to see Zlatan play, like we wanted to see Cristiano Ronaldo play, like we wanted to see Eric Cantona play.
"It's a very exciting time for Manchester United at the moment."
Peter Schmeichel was speaking on behalf of Nabufit. Available on Google Play and the App Store.
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