If I have understood your query correctly then it can be answered in many parts and here is part 1 (already on the forum) slightly paraphrased specifically for your query.
Part 1 (Response):
Madkhali: Where is your evidence to follow Imam Abu Haneefa (RA)?
Muadh Khan: Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, ""The best of my people are my generation then those who come after them, then those who come after them, then there will come a people in whom there will be no good." [Tabarni]
Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) was born in year 80 AH and passed away in year 160AH so he was Tab'ae and he narrates Hadeeth from Sahaba (RA) so he is the Salaf!
Do you deny him being Salaf?
Madkhali: No I don't deny him being the Salaf.
Muadh Khan: So you are taking these people away from following one of the Salaf to another Scholar (i.e. Al-Albani (RA) etc.) who passed away in 1999! That is very strange dawah.
Part 2 (Response):
Madkhali: We don't have the opinion of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) today!
Muadh Khan: Imam Muhammad (RA) was a student of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) and he also studied with Imam Malik (RA). As a result he also narrated Muwatta of Imam Malik (RA) and under each chapter he narrates the opinion of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA). This has been translated and published in English as "Muwatta Imam Muhammad (RA)".
According to Imam Shaf'ae (RA) the most Authentic book on Earth after the book of Allah (SWT) is "Muwatta of Imam Malik (RA)".
Muwatta Imam Muhammad (RA) is that PLUS the opinions of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA). So the book is compiled by "Salaf", Authenticated by "Salaf" and contains opinion of "Salaf" in addition to Hadeeth.
Go look it up!
Now off course we consider Saheeh Bukhari (RA) to be more Authentic and that's a different discussion all together.
Part 3 (Response):
Madkhali: There is no obligation to follow Imam Abu Haneefa (RA), exclusively?
Muadh Khan: I was trying to make a point about Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) and him being a Salaf but we actually follow the "Madhab of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA)" which means that Ulama have scrutinised opinions and where the evidence is to the contrary we leave the words of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA).
If you actually study the Madhab, you will find opinion after opinion where Imam Abu Yusuf (RA) and Imam Muhammad (RA) have disagreed with their teacher i.e. Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) based on evidence and Ulama discuss these matters and adopt the most sound opinion.
But this is NOT the job of a laymen. Until you become a Mujtahid you have no choice but to do Taqleed. The obligation for laymen as Shaykh Salih Uthaymeen (RA) has rightly pointed out is "Taqleed".
In fact we rely on 1400+ years of scrutinised. In fact we rely on 1400+ years of scrutinised, systematised and improved while you break away from this tradition and rely on individual ShootNScoot Maverickism! Oxford University prides itself on nearly 1000 years of Academic excellence and cannot be compared to a street-institute opened 70 years ago!
To give you the historical and classical pedigree of Hanafi Madhab, here are three undisputed facts:
Questions open the door to knowledge so don't be shy in asking, Insha'Allah.
The Ahl-e-Hadeeth objection is that the opinions of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) are not present in our time and Muwatta Imam (Muhammad) (RA) is a slap in the face of this allegation.
Then to discuss the issue of foundation of Hanafi Madhab then I disagree with my dear respected and beloved elder ArafatZafar because the basis of Hanafi Madhab is not Hidayah/Qudoori but books of Dhahir-Riwayah and Nawadir.
The issues discussed above are 2 separate matters (hence coloured differently) and cannot be jumbled together and discussed together.
I will await further questions before discussion on Imam Tahawi (RA) separately.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.