Full Sir Alex Ferguson interview with Gary Neville – including Liverpool rivalry

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Sir Alex Ferguson has given a rare interview to former Manchester United defender Gary Neville in which he discussed how he kept his teams grounded, his rivalry with Liverpool and more.

The iconic manager will be the subject of a new film releasing this summer, documenting the brain haemorrhage he suffered in 2018.

Ferguson has remained relatively out of the limelight since his retirement, but has remained loyal to United by attending numerous games in recent years.

The two-time Champions League-winning manager has now spoken with Neville about his career, and opened up on some of the techniques he would use to lead the side.

Here's a full transcript of Ferguson's interview with Neville.

Ferguson on the importance of being grounded

“My reasons were that the players I had to deal with then were probably not from the working class that I was from.

"So, I had to try and instil that part in them that working hard is a real talent. I refer to shipyard workers, to miners, to steel workers.

"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.”

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    “It’s a sacrifice. When I became a manager, I’d been a decent player, I became a manager at 32 and I thought it would be easy. I was thinking about other managers I worked for.

    "I lost my first away game 5-2 and I didn’t expect it. I realised then that if I didn’t get a working mentality, a mental strength in my players, then I had no chance.

    The first team talk I had the next year was about the geese. My friend had a farm in Canada and he was telling me this story about geese flying 4,000 miles for a bit of heat.

    "I said to the players, ‘All I’m asking you to do is play 38 games to win the league’. The motivation, I’d be sitting in my bed at night and thinking about ways of motivating players because if you’re at a club like United for 27 years – you don’t want players to think: ‘Oh, here we go again’.”

    Ferguson on his and United's rivalry with Liverpool

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    “It’s my respect of Liverpool. When I was the manager of St Mirren, I went down to Liverpool’s training for a week and I saw the intensity of their training, the consistency they had, so when I came to United, they were winning all the titles.

    "It’s like when I was at Aberdeen, there’s only two teams you need to beat in Scotland to win everything, that’s Rangers and Celtic. When I came to United, there was only one team you needed to beat to win the league and that’s Liverpool. That was my intention.

    "I put everything into producing a team to beat them, not necessarily beat them every game but beat them throughout the weeks. I knew if we beat Liverpool, we’re on the right path."

    • Manchester United FC
    • Gary Neville
    • Sir Alex Ferguson
    • Champions League

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