Park Ji-Sung was a fans’ favourite at Old Trafford, nicknamed Three-Lung Park, thanks to exhaustive effort he put in to every game.
Sir Alex Ferguson often relied on the midfielder in big games to man-mark key players from the opposition. Park has today reflected on why he succeeded on so many of these occasions.
Maybe one of my strengths was to bring the energy to the team. Defensively I contributed a lot, compared to other players, which is quite essential for the big matches; you know, against big clubs you need to be very cautious with opponents that attack.
So, with those kind of things, I could give some kind of trust to him [Ferguson] to perform well against big clubs. And then I really enjoyed playing against the big teams as well; the tension, the atmosphere and that kind of got me excited to deal with that. But I’m really pleased to have played a lot of big games and that allowed a good performance.
Ferguson admitted earlier this week that leaving Park out of the squad for the 2008 Champions League final was one of his biggest regrets.
It was a really great bunch of players with a great attitude about them and a good, strong squad. My problem in the 2008 final, maybe I even regret it to this day, was I left Ji-sung Park out completely in the final.
He’d played such a great role and that’s the problem when you get to these finals. At Wembley [against Barcelona two years later], I did it to Dimitar Berbatov and he took it badly. He didn’t deserve it. No player deserves to be left out of the final.