“I don't know why signing Edwin (van der Sar) wasn't prioritised when I left, but I think the club learned some lessons from that and they did a really good job when he left," Schmeichel told United's official website.
“They knew it was so important to get it right and not spend years chasing the situation. At the time, I actually thought there was an obvious answer.
“You had to look at how we play and ask: right, where's the guy that's going to slot in? To me, we'd very recently seen the answer. I thought Manuel Neuer was a perfect fit for us.
“He'd just been up against United with Schalke in the Champions League and, even though Schalke lost the tie, he'd shown us precisely what he could do. He was a very aggressive goalkeeper. He played like I played. I played to my strengths. I knew where my weaknesses were and I tried desperately not to end up in situations where they might be exposed. I was always trying to get my defenders to protect me from that.
“I really liked the way Neuer played – it might be because I played like that myself – and to me, it felt like a natural move. He suited us well and we wouldn't have had to change how we played."
Schmeichel admitted he was dumbstruck when the Red Devils chose to sign De Gea instead of the German.
He continued: “Of course, I knew about David de Gea because he was a young player already playing for Atletico Madrid's first team, so you just knew he obviously had something special, but I didn't think we'd be going for him.
“So when we did move for him, I honestly couldn't understand why we'd gone down that route. I thought the experience of what had happened between me and Edwin would have been used, so it looked unusual to me.
“Then, of course, it didn't go particularly well for him in his first couple of games and, suddenly, the press were all over him. He was the most written-about person in English football for six months. “What the hell are United doing?" and stuff like that, and it got worse and worse.
“He was so bad, according to the media. A huge mistake. But then he became so good, and I can tell you the moment that everything changed for David."