Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder insists the aura associated with Manchester United remains despite their recent decline.
The Reds’ trophy-laden era under Sir Alex Ferguson has become a distant memory since his departure in 2013 and, by their own high standards, they are having a hard time.
Under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the gulf to rivals Manchester City and Liverpool has become a chasm.
Meanwhile, while the gap to what is often referred to as the chasing pack has narrowed alarmingly – with the Old Trafford club now arguably considered one of those teams.
Solskjaer’s side make the trip cross the Pennines on Sunday to face Sheffield United with Blades boss Wilder tipping them to eventually rediscover their former glories.
“Manchester United are one of the most iconic teams in the world, and there will always be an aura surrounding them,” said Wilder.
“No matter how their fortunes on the pitch may fluctuate, it’s still one of football’s true powerhouses that we are talking about whenever we mention their name.
“They are an incredible football club who are just going through a spell right now where they are not having it all their own way.
“That happens in football. But fortunes can fluctuate very quickly in this game and they will find their way back to the top, that’s for certain.”
The Blades will head into the match at Bramall Lane ahead of their opponents in the Premier League table and looking to extend their five-match unbeaten run.
Asked if this might be a good time to play United, Wilder said: “I think they’ve just won five of their last six games and won three away on the bounce last month, so I think that answers the question.
“This is still Manchester United. They still have world class players. We went over there to play a training match a few weeks ago and I think my players were surprised at the quality of the team they decided to put out for the game.
“And then they brought on a load of talented, young whipper-snappers towards the end when our players were tired. So we know the quality they have right through the squad and we know what to expect.”
Wilder will be without on-loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who has to sit out against his parent club, so Simon Moore will be between the posts.
John Egan is a doubt after the defender suffered a clash of heads with Andreas Cornelius during the Republic of Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Denmark on Monday.
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