Former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has opened up on what life was like playing under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Vidic joined the Red Devils in 2006 from Spartak Moscow to relatively little fanfare, but quickly established himself as one of Europe’s leading centre-backs.
He won five Premier League titles, three League Cups, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup with United.
One season after Ferguson’s retirement from football, Vidic left United for Inter, where he spent one-and-a-half years before hanging up his boots.
Speaking in an interview with The Times, Vidic revealed how Ferguson’s personality and adaptability were two of his key strengths.
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“He was the first one bringing the sport scientist into football, he was not scared to give the chance to the new generations, to young players, and he was the one actually giving the chance to young coaches to run the training session, to play in modern patterns, like Carlos Queiroz,” Vidic said.
“They had new ideas to show because the young generations always think what can be better. The old generation think, ‘This is my way, I don’t want to change’.
“Sir Alex understood football was always moving but he still kept his identity. He knew what [type of attacking] football he wanted to play but always tried to improve and to be ahead of people, not behind the time. I saw his strong mentality and his strong leadership.
“What I saw in my 20 years in football, I don’t know any other coach with his ability to manage a big group of people, to communicate with the media, players, staff and have a clear vision of what he wants. I believe that Sir Alex’s biggest strength is communication with the people, his direction, and he knows what he wants. He’s a winner.”
Vidic added: “He makes you believe. I had a feeling when he talked to the players that he believes more in them than actually they believe in themselves.
“He gave you that impression that he’s thinking you’re better in that position than anybody, that if someone offered him a player from Real Madrid, he’d say, ‘No, my boy is better, my boy is better’.
“And he believed it. If you play a good game, he goes, ‘I know, I know, that’s you, that’s normal’. He has that aura that gave you this feeling of support and confidence.”
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