SINGAPORE - It is a club whose history drips with attacking flair. From the Busby Babes to Fergie's Fledglings plus a string of electrifying No.7s like George Best, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United is a byword of football par excellence.
But the current vintage under Jose Mourinho has been an acquired taste although former Red Devil Teddy Sheringham believes the Portuguese manager has delivered results and will continue to do so even if artistry and genius are sacrificed.
The 51-year-old, who scored 31 goals in 104 English Premier League appearances for United, told The Straits Times on Thursday (Feb 8) afternoon: "If I'm honest, not really. I didn't enjoy watching Chelsea that much when he (Mourinho) was Chelsea manager but he gets results. He knows how to win football matches and to get success.
"The team is in a transitional period but they still did win two trophies (League Cup and Europa League) last year. It's a tough job that Mourinho's got, it's the best club in the world and he's got to manage all the star players that he's got.
"It seems like he's amassing lots and lots of star players but he still doesn't seem quite sure what is his best team. But he's a winner and he will carry on until he gets there."
Sheringham, who also had distinguished spells at Tottenham Hotspur and won the EPL's Golden Boot with Nottingham Forest in 1993 (21 goals), is in Singapore to launch this year's JSSL's International 7s and Professional Academy 7s tournament.
More than 4,000 youth players from 350 teams, including sides from United, Liverpool, Valencia, Fulham, Japan's Urawa Reds and Australia's Perth Glory, will participate in April 28-30 event at the Padang.
With 26 EPL games played, United lie second in the table with 56 points but trail leaders Manchester City by a massive 13 points.
Instead of criticising his former club, Sheringham believes City have been phenomenal and virtually unplayable this season.
"Manchester City has raised the bar, they are exceptional and it's a joy to watch them play," the former England striker, who previously managed League Two club Stevenage and Indian Super League side ATK, said.
"Pep Guardiola has come in with a fantastic attitude. He knows exactly what he wants and me, being a manager a couple of times, I know how hard it is to get exactly what you want from a team.
"I take my hat off to the way he organises the team, the way they all understand what they are all meant to be doing and more often than not, his team puts on a real performance."
Mourinho did enjoy a little victory over Guardiola during the January transfer window, snatching former Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan from City's clutches.
Sheringham believes the Chilean should be an automatic starter for the Red Devils and would pair him with a homegrown talent even though United also has big signings Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku at their disposal.
He said: "I know (Marcus) Rashford's only a young lad but I get really excited about watching him play football, whether he plays left, right or centre-forward, he is an exceptional talent.
"I would like to see him go out on loan to learn his trade so that he will be ready to play for Manchester United because he is the exciting talent that is coming through.
"If you pair him with Sanchez, it would be fantastic. Lukaku gives you something, he scores a decent amount of goals without being prolific. He's robust but not as polished as past centre-forwards at Manchester United but he scores goals and gets results."
And although their neighbours look set to run away with the title this campaign, Sheringham does not feel that the skies are all that grey over Old Trafford.
He reasoned: "Manchester United need to get back to winning ways and they are doing that under Mourinho. You have to measure it a little bit... whether you want success or you want beautiful football.
"Does one come without the other or the other one first? It's chicken and egg. At the moment, you are getting one out of the two - You are getting results and winning trophies.
"So it's not all bad for Manchester United and a lot of clubs would want to be like that."