Gary Pallister says Stockholm could herald new United era

Former defender recalls 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup as a major step for his side

Gary Pallister believes a Europa League win for Manchester United on Wednesday can be a stepping stone to renewed domestic success for Jose Mourinho's side, just as the European Cup Winners Cup victory of 1991 helped keep the team he played in on course for the dominance they enjoyed during the years that followed.

"Listen, winning trophies does give you that shot in the arm," he said while in Dublin for the announcement of the August 2nd friendly between United and Sampdoria in the Aviva Stadium. "It does give you that belief, that feeling in the dressing room that you want to do it again.

"That '91 final lives on in my memory. The game itself [in which Mark Hughes scored twice before Ronald Koeman made it 2-1 late on], against a great Barcelona side, the night, the partying that we did afterwards, lives long in the memory. And you want to get a taste of that more and more. So, yeah, if you have lean times and you win a trophy it does give you the confidence to go on from there and build.

“It was a gradual thing back in them days,” he recalls: “an FA Cup followed by a Cup-Winners’ Cup, followed by a title [in fact there was a season with nothing to show for it bar a League Cup in between the defeat of Johan Cruyff’s side and that first title since 1967]. So each year, it was winning something. And that motivates and excites the dressing room and helps take you to the next level.”


“I think he [Mourinho] will be active in the transfer market. He’s had a year to look at players and decide what he needs in his squad. I’m sure there will be certainly at least three players coming in. I think with the injury to Zlatan, he’ll be looking for support to Rashford. The future of Wayne is unclear at the moment. We obviously need help in that department.

“He’ll possibly be looking at another creative player in midfield and I think he spoke about a defender as well. I think they are the three key areas.

“I don’t think there’ll be any problem with chasing the targets down that he wants. He’s obviously got good contacts and seems to get what he wants most of the time. He’ll be probably a lot happier a year on with the squad he’ll have.”

Tickets for the friendly, which go on sale this Friday, start at €40, with a discounted pre-sale for FAI season ticket holders.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times