Hopefully Sir Alex will make a speedy recovery, says Dwight Yorke
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (right) presents Dwight Yorke with the club's Player of the Year award. Yorke helped United win the treble in 1999. (Getty Images file)
Dubai - United legend Yorke admitted that Man City were simply too good this season
At a time when the world is praying for the speedy recovery of Sir Alex Ferguson, Dwight Yorke is still in shock. The former Manchester United striker hasn't been able to come to terms with the fact that the man he spoke to in the morning is now fighting for his life at Salford Royal Hospital in Britain after undergoing surgery for brain haemorrhage on Saturday.
"Yeah absolutely, it's a big surprise to me. I spoke to him that morning," Yorke, who played the best football of his career under Ferguson at Man United, told Khaleej Times during an exclusive interview in Dubai on Sunday.
"The fact that the Gaffer looks very healthy and looks like he is enjoying his retirement. As I said before he was absolutely normal when I spoke to him. Obviously the night while I was travelling I got the news that he wasn't doing well so that comes as a massive surprise. Clearly our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at the present time and hopefully the Gaffer will make a speedy recovery."
The former Trinidad and Tobago star then looked back at his United glory days. His first season at Old Trafford, of course, has become a part of the footballing folklore as his goals helped Ferguson's United become the only English team in history to win the treble.
"In my time, we were always led to believe that every time Man United is playing we want to win the league. That was always the bread and butter we said back then. I always said that we will win because that's the mind set we have been brought up with," he said.
Manchester United haven't won the league since Ferguson retired in 2013 and Yorke believes current coach Jose Mourinho has what it takes to make the Red Devils a title contender again.
"We have certainly have made progress under Mourinho. When you judge a manager, well, you know, you see how many trophies he has won. He has won two trophies last year - the Europa League and the League Cup - even though we finished sixth. He made us qualify for the Champions League," he said.
"This year we are second at the moment and we are in the FA Cup final. You know where we were under the previous managers, so you could clearly see that he has made great progress for us.
"But yes at the end of day, managers will always be judged by their success in terms of winning trophies. We haven't been able to do that now. But he has done well and I think next season I really expect them to win. The reality is we haven't done that in recent years but I expect us to really improve in terms of winning the Premier League."
Yorke admitted, though, that Man City were simply too good this season.
"We should give credit where credit is due and I think Man City have been outstanding. They have set the benchmark and it is up to us now to react. Can we do that? I think we have got the squad to do that. It's all about how the manager goes about it in terms of winning the Premier League."
City's breathtaking style of play in the title-winning season under Pep Guardiola has already made some pundits put them in the pantheon of great Premier League teams. But Yorke believes City need to do more to be in the league of the treble-winning United side and Arsenal's Invincibles.
"If they are gonna win the treble like we did then maybe we can talk about it. But not now. What we did no other team has been able to do that," he said.
"Arsenal can have their argument as they remained unbeaten in the season (2003-2004) which no other team have been able to do. This City team has got beaten.
"But yes they have set the record and they are probably going to get the most points and most goals for a season. The respect is due there. But in terms of comparison, I think there is some similarity in there but in terms of what they have achieved you can't really put them in the same bracket. But we have to admire the way City have played this season."
And finally Yorke revealed what Mohamed Salah needs to do end Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi's Ballon d'Or dominance.
"He needs to win the Champions League," Yorke said.
"Of course, you can't take anything away from the kid. I think he has been outstanding for Liverpool. But has he done enough to win the Ballon d'Or? I think it's very hard to look beyond the top two - Ronaldo and Messi - who have dominated. But if he plays a good final against Real Madrid and scores and Liverpool win, he might just get that award."