Giggs names four Man United players who were immune from Sir Alex’s ‘hairdryer treatment’

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • Post published:May 11, 2020

Ryan Giggs has named the four Manchester United players who were immune from Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘hairdryer treatment’, describing the legendary Scottish coach as a ‘master of psychology’.

Ferguson is widely revered as one of the greatest managers in the history of football, having guided United to 13 Premier League titles and two European Cups during his 26-year reign at the Theatre of Dreams. However, he didn’t always see eye to eye with his players, with reports of dressing-room disputes with certain stars during and after matches a common occurrence.

In one such incident Ferguson admittedly kicked a boot at David Beckham’s face, leaving the ex-England winger needing stitches – while off-field disagreements with Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy ultimately led to both players leaving the club.

Giggs says only a select few managed to escape Ferguson’s wrath, including five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and former club captain Roy Keane.

‘There were three or four players that he never had a go at,’ United’s record appearance-maker told beIN Sports.

‘Eric Cantona was one – Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo. They were all in their own ways match-winners.

Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United

‘They did the stuff on the pitch, so he never felt he had to.

‘Eric, there were some games where Eric didn’t do anything. He didn’t score, he wasn’t running around like a Carlos Tevez or a Wayne Rooney, he didn’t have any impact. But he knew sooner or later he would come good.

‘We would be sat in the dressing room thinking: “He’s got to have a go at him, he’s got to have a pop at him, because he didn’t do anything today.”

‘But the next week he’d scored the winner or he would produce a moment of magic, so he handled the big names really well as long as they were doing it on the pitch, he handled them in a different way.

‘He was the master of psychology, he was a master at getting the best out of certain individuals like whether to put an arm around, or whether to give them a rocket at half time or at the end of the game or leave them out knowing that the player would react in a positive way.’

Giggs went on to admit that he found himself on the end of Ferguson’s temper on a number of occasions, and that he was hit with fines for failing to accept his manager’s criticism.

‘I fell out with him plenty of times,’ the Welshman added. ‘I mean the amount of times I would say over my career, six or seven times where it was a couple of weeks’ wages I was fined for talking back, for having an argument.

‘At the time it’s not very nice, you’re in the dressing room, you’ve just got beat or you’ve had a bad performance. And I just couldn’t help myself to have a go back.

‘He actually, later in his career, he told me he liked that, it meant that you cared. He’d still fine you two weeks because he wanted to show that he was in charge but he actually quite liked it, as long as it didn’t cross the line, of course.’