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Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has revealed an unusual motivational tactic used by his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
The French defender joined United in January 2006 and was a regular for United in the final seven-and-a-half seasons of Ferguson’s spell in the Old Trafford dugout.
Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest managers in the game with his man-management and motivational techniques among his main strengths.
Evra has now spoken of one particular tactic deployed by the Scot in order to fire up him and the rest of his United teammates.
Patrice Evra won five Premier League titles at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson
It was during half-time during a match against Tottenham, in which United were comfortably at the break but had mentally switched off from their top game.
“Sir Alex and me have such a strong relationship, he is like my dad,” Evra explained on Eddie Hearn’s BBC Sounds podcast, before describing the anecdote.
“We were playing a great game against Tottenham, we were 2-0 up at half time and the players were praising me in the dressing room.
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“When Sir Alex does not say anything for three minutes, you know that someone is in trouble.
“He asked me if I was ok, and I replied that I was. Then he asked me if I was tired, and then if I thought I was playing a good game. Then I told him ‘yes boss, I’m on fire’.
“Then he gave me the proper hairdryer treatment – that is true.
“He said to me ‘this is the worst game you have played since I signed you for Manchester United! Why did you pass the ball back to Van Der Sar?’
“I replied ‘because I did not have any option’ and then he said that if I did it again, he would take me out of the team.
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“I do not like the injustice; so I stood up and he was so close to my face – but my one piece of advice to any young player is never speak back to your boss, so I stayed silent.
“Because of my pent up anger, I had a great second half and we beat Tottenham 4-0.
“After the game, I had my shower and had praise from the players, but I was not in a good mood.”
Evra’s confusion and anger led to him then going directly to his boss the following day, in which it was revealed why he had been selected as the target of Ferguson’s ire.
Evra explained: “The next day I went to Sir Alex’s office and he said ‘hello! Son, how are you?’ And he was all smiling.
“I asked him what had happened yesterday, then he told me I had been the best player on the pitch and praised my performance.
“I asked him why he had acted like that in half time, and he replied that Cristiano Ronaldo had done some skill and we were beginning to disrespect Tottenham instead of killing them.
“He told me that once you score one goal, you should aim for another and then another. That is what the fans want and expect.
“He knew that I could take the fire from him and that it would motivate me, and that it would also motivate my teammates – if he was talking like that to Patrice, we need to up our game.
“That is the kind of relationship I have with Ferguson.
“I told him that it was ok, but next time to tell me or give me a warning or something.” Evra then joked: “Then he told me to get out of his office!”