Peter Schmeichel claims Sir Alex Ferguson was “terrified” of Premier League opponent


Sir Alex Ferguson was left ‘terrified’ by one regular opponent according to former star Peter Schmeichel, and he would make him ‘sweat’ whenever he faced Manchester United

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Sir Alex Ferguson was reportedly “terrified” of one Premier League opponent while in charge of Manchester United, according to former star Peter Schmeichel.

Ferguson will forever be a legendary figure for his time in the dugout at United, but the Scotsman was known for his infamous ‘hairdryer’ treatment when things weren’t going his way, as he feared no one.

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Following 38 trophies with United over a 26-year stint in Manchester, it’s not surprising that Ferguson imposed a fearlessness about his side, as they won everything there is to win at club level.

However, there was one star that Ferguson was “terrified” of.

Sir Alex Ferguson was ‘terrified’ by one Premier League opponent


John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Ferguson was absolutely ‘terrified’ of Steve McManaman according to former United keeper Schmeichel, and claimed that his former boss would even alter his tactics to mark the midfielder out of the game.

McManaman was exceptional for Liverpool after breaking through their academy back in 1990, and spent nine years on Merseyside before heading to Real Madrid, where another successful four years followed.

And whenever McManaman faced Ferguson’s side, he would always leave the United boss in a ‘sweat’, as the Scotsman prioritised his game plan around silencing the iconic Liverpool midfielder.

Ahead of United’s 1996 FA Cup final against Liverpool, former United star Schmeichel claimed Ferguson was decifering whether to mark McManaman out of the high-stakes affar at Wembley by sticking a 19-year-old Phil Neville on him, instructing the defender to follow him everywhere on the day.

Steve McManaman made Sir Alex Ferguson ‘sweat’



This was because in Ferguson’s eyes, McManaman was Liverpool’s best player, and if Neville could keep him quiet on the day then United would be in a great position to win the trophy.

It was a victorious occasion for Ferguson as United, as they snatched a late 1-0 victory thanks to Eric Cantona’s 85th minute goal, but it wasn’t always so straight forward against McManaman.

Schmeichel referenced Ferguson’s man marking tactics against McManaman, and revealed in his autobiography, One: “In some ways, this was no surprise because Ferguson was terrified of McManaman.

“McManaman was the only opposing player he ever paid attention to in the Premier League. I mean, he would mention Alan Shearer and other major opposing players in team talks but never with any fear. However, McManaman always had him in a sweat.

“And, to be fair, Steve was a fantastic footballer. Fergie’s thinking was always that if you took McManaman out of the game, you took Liverpool out.”

McManaman made 364 appearances for Liverpool during his nine years at the club, and scored 66 goals during his time at Anfield, but despite Ferguson’s fears, none of these goals came against United.

In fact, McManaman was on the winning side on only three occasions against United in the Premier League, as United triumphed nine times, with the pair settling for a draw in six other instances.

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