5 things we learned from Sir Alex Ferguson’s interview with Gary Neville

Sir Alex Ferguson has opened up on his managerial career in an interview with former player Gary Neville.

The former Manchester United boss spent 27 years at Old Trafford, presiding over the greatest period in the club's history.

He had plenty of challenges and developed a style all of his own.

Ferguson's man management has often been praised as he took on the club's traditions after the foundations had been laid down by Sir Matt Busby.

Last minute winners, academy stars coming through and exciting football were all part of what is now known as the United way.

Here are five things we learned from his open conversation with Neville on Sky Sports.


No special dispensation for the stars

Ferguson had his fair share of star players at Old Trafford, starting with Eric Cantona right through to Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

Their mercurial talents were of huge benefit to the club, but they were not exempt from the work ethic he demanded.

He said: "Even your best player, the most talented player, he has to show that he’s prepared to work as hard as every other player and I think we got that.

"I was lucky that the players proved that working hard is a talent.”

Its the little things

In almost three decades the Scot certainly created a unique culture in Manchester and he placed a real onus on valuing each and every individual.

Yes it was the players who won the competitions on the pitch, but Ferguson never lost sight of the fact it was a collective effort.

"My communication was really important to me – recognising and valuing my staff," he said.

"I would never let anyone pass me in the corridor or in the dining room. I'd have a chat with them, I think it's important.

"If you think back when we won leagues or cups I had all the staff in the dining room on a Monday – it was their cup."

Mentality over performance

Players who came through the ranks at United knew full well the history of the club.

Ferguson knew not everyone could handle it so placed a huge value on those who had in it them to play on the biggest stage.

He said: "We bought through players who developed a good mental strength. A toughness so that they could play in front of 75,000 people.

"I used to say it to the parents, I hope Gary and Phil play in front of 75,000, that's the aim. Of course they don't all make it.

"But the amazing thing is a lot of those players are still playing today at different clubs. So the preparation and education they got at United was really important."

Risk and reward

So many of Ferguson's defining images are him celebrating late winners.

Think back to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in Barcelona or Steve Bruce's header against Sheffield Wednesday.

The Scot saw no value is losing without giving it a go – even if it cost them at times – knowing full well how it could galvanise the group if the succeeded.

He said: "You're down 1-0 with 15 minutes to go. What is the point in sitting with your back four, regular midfielders and two strikers.

"The risk is shove people in the box because other teams react to that. You can lose on the counter-attack quite easily, and we lost games that way.

"But the value is, scoring in the last minute, the dressing room. It is electric."

Being on the right path

Ferguson came down from Scotland looking to knock Liverpool off their perch. He knew that beating them would result in the league title.

Not that he measured each and every game against them, but Ferguson was aware of who he had to beat.

"When i was at Aberdeen there was only two teams you need to beat: Rangers and Celtic," he said.

"When i came to United the only club to beat was Liverpool. so that was my intention.

"I put everything into creating a team who could beat them. We had a great record there (at Anfield), if you could beat Liverpool you were on the right path."

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