Eric Cantona has explained just why Sir Alex Ferguson was so special as Manchester United manager.
The Frenchman was speaking after joining current Man United attacking midfielder Juan Mata’s Common Goal initiative, whereby those in the football industry donate 1% of their salary to charity.
Cantona was the catalyst for success at United under Ferguson in the early 1990s as the Reds won their first English title in almost three decades in 1992/93.
Now, he’s described how Ferguson got the best out of his best teams until Cantona left in 1997, retiring from football to go in acting.
“All the time, I get asked the same questions about my career,” Cantona wrote in a column for the Players’ Tribune.
”’What was it like playing for those United teams? Why did you do so well?’
“People want some kind of complex answer. They want some kind of secret, I think. But the answer is very simple. Sir Alex Ferguson was the master of one thing: Whenever we took the pitch for a match, after hours and hours of work, we were allowed to be free. We felt total freedom to move where we wanted, to play how we wanted.
“I could tolerate football no other way. What is football if it is not about freedom?”
Ferguson’s team talks were famous for often including very little on the tactics themselves and a lot regarding motivation. It worked.
The same was said to be true of Sir Matt Busby, who’s famous phrase was “just go out and play”.