In an exclusive interview with Squawka, Rio Ferdinand has reflected on how Manchester United so often had the upper hand when we played Arsenal.
[Sir Alex] was really good. It’s like when we used to play Arsenal and he made us really understand that physically they wouldn’t be able to deal with us. We were stronger, we were quicker, we were more aggressive, we were more determined. He knew we could play but he said we’d beat them easier and more effectively if we overrun them, overpowered them, trampled all over them, and that’s what we invariably did against Arsenal.
We had a really good spell against them for a few years. The semi-final was typical of that. At their place, we felt a bit invincible, like they’re not going to hurt us and we’re going to hurt them, and it’d either be physically or through goals. We really tore them apart at their place.
But at the same time we would go away from home to Bolton or Stoke and people would say you’d have to fight for the first 15-20 minutes, get through that and then we’d put our foot on the ball to play and pass those teams to death. If you’re going to be a top team you have to be adaptable.