Former Man United favourite backs Simon Mignolet – condemns Gary Neville

Peter Schmeichel has criticised his former Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville for questioning Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in action against Real Madrid CF during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Siding with his fellow shot-stopper rather than his one-time Old Trafford colleague, Schmeichel said Neville was guilty of a “character assassination” after claiming the Belgian should have kept out Phil Jagielka’s long-range late equaliser for Everton in the Merseyside derby.

In the wake of the September 27 match, which finished 1-1, Sky Sports pundit Neville made his feelings clear in a five-minute critique of Mignolet.

While Neville acknowledged the “amazing strike” from England defender Jagielka, he argued a “top-level goalkeeper” should save such a shot, and questioned Mignolet’s positioning, suggesting he crouched too low to give himself a chance of reaching a ball that went in just beneath the crossbar.

Neville acknowledged he was a “harsh” judge, but also picked out further examples from last season before returning to the Jagielka goal and saying: “I think he should save that and I think he’s got a technical problem.”

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was also critical, but less forcefully so. Schmeichel, the former Manchester United and Denmark goalkeeper, took issue with both.

“I was shocked a couple of weeks back when it was a character assassination that Gary Neville did to Simon Mignolet,” Schmeichel said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I have to say I don’t think the boy has done too bad since that night where he was taken apart by Carragher and Neville.

“It’s very difficult to go on the pitch, everyone will be watching him, and everyone will be saying ‘Oh this is what Neville’s said, and this is what Carragher’s said’.”

Schmeichel added: “I’m looking at the goals and I’m thinking, ‘What do you expect? Do you really honestly expect him to save everything?’.

“I just think what was done on Monday Night Football was out of order because it was a really, really good shot, and it was demonstrated how low he was, but by someone who’s played right-back all his life.”