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Ferguson: I had to chase Becks, Scholes and Giggs in from training

Speaking to Harvard Business Review, Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken about the importance of high standards, from the training ground to the pitch.

“Everything we did was about maintaining the standards we had set as a football club—this applied to all my team building and all my team preparation, motivational talks, and tactical talks,” he said. “For example, we never allowed a bad training session. What you see in training manifests itself on the game field. So every training session was about quality. We didn’t allow a lack of focus. It was about intensity, concentration, speed—a high level of performance. That, we hoped, made our players improve with each session. I had to lift players’ expectations. They should never give in. I said that to them all the time: “If you give in once, you’ll give in twice.” And the work ethic and energy I had seemed to spread throughout the club. I used to be the first to arrive in the morning. In my later years, a lot of my staff members would already be there when I got in at 7 AM. I think they understood why I came in early—they knew there was a job to be done. There was a feeling that ‘if he can do it, then I can do it.’”

Ferguson has reflected on how his high standards were seen in his star players, with the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo practising their skills for hours.

“I constantly told my squad that working hard all your life is a talent,” he added. “But I expected even more from the star players. I expected them to work even harder. I said, ‘You’ve got to show that you are the top players.’ And they did. That’s why they are star players—they are prepared to work harder. Superstars with egos are not the problem some people may think. They need to be winners, because that massages their egos, so they will do what it takes to win. I used to see Ronaldo, Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, and others out there practising for hours. I’d have to chase them in. I’d be banging on the window saying, ‘We’ve got a game on Saturday.’ But they wanted the time to practice. They realized that being a Manchester United player is not an easy job.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. REDibro says:

    If only Wazza had the commitment of Ronaldo!!

  2. davidjones says:

    And some still Beckham is shit…Smh

  3. davidjones says:

    And some still think Beckham is shit…Smh

  4. kanchelskis says:

    Interesting point about those players who’d happily stay for hours practising after training.

    Wonder who – if any – in the current squad have that level of determination. RVP maybe? Anyone else strike you as the type?

  5. best says:

    that was correct , he did a lot ,he was have good communication with players ,and all players was united that y he woon more trophies, let give chance moyens still early ;we all waitin good things frm him

  6. Proverb says:

    This quotes also applies to life in general. FERGY is a GENIUS

  7. Proverb says:

    Reading that interview brought tears to my eyes…
    He’s dead inspirational, I just can’t think of any other hard working human being like him, its really amazing how much hard work (without slacking) maintained doing every single day for almost 27 years, its really amazing. What an amazing human being! I’m glad he did those kind of start mentioned in the article at this wonderful club. Made even more wonderful by his amazing dedication to succeed. I love him. Love live his legacy

  8. Proverb says:

    Where’s every fucker, this deserves a 600 essays ;)

  9. ambrose christian says:

    we will forever love u, u are man utd forever

  10. Etila says:

    I think Evra, Freddy and some mo plyers evn Roo are still inspired by Sir n ar willing to go extra miles.

  11. bayoRed says:

    Moysie, Moysie, big big shoes to fill and all these revelations just show how high a standard he has to maintain. Good thing he has the likes of Giggsy Paddy and Rio in the squad who have seen it all and know what needs to be done.

  12. bayoRed says:

    Chicharito also has this attitude of a champion. Too bad (for him) that there is all that quality upfront. Am really waiting to see what he can do when given a good run.

  13. mark.evs says:

    Best manager ever amazing the way he kept up the high standards year after year, moyes will be a great Manchester united manager and will win the league this season for sure, hopefully now nani has got a 5 year contract maybe he will stay after training and practice his skills and become the player he should be

  14. greenhoff77 says:

    As a United fan isnt that all you want from a United player.?

    thats what endears us to them, and thats why we sing songs dedicated to our hero’s in red

    im waiting for the day in 5 or 10 years time when somebody sings “we all miss ashley young” …..lmao

  15. Rukky says:

    I read the full article before and without a shadow of doubt this man is God’s own gift to football: I mean there has been no other manager before or after him so inspirational.

  16. MehtaJi says:

    DM should have worked under SAF for 1 season and learn some tricks from the master


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