Premier League

Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United team talk secrets revealed

Michael Owen has revealed how the Scot broke with habit ahead of a 2011 Champions League meeting with Chelsea.

8:14pm on Wednesday 3rd February 2021
David Lynch

Michael Owen has revealed how an 'emotional' Sir Alex Ferguson team talk helped inspire Manchester United to Champions League victory over Chelsea in 2011.

The Scot delivered countless rousing speeches to his players across a 39-year managerial career that saw him win 16 league titles, two European Cups and a host of other honours.

Owen witnessed many during his three-season stay at Old Trafford, but one in particular stands out in his mind.

And it came ahead of an all-English Champions League quarter-final tie almost a decade ago.

He told Stadium Astro: "There was a time that we played in the Champions League against Chelsea, in the quarter-finals or semi-finals.

"He never did this but he got us all in a meeting in the hotel room on the morning of the game. We thought, 'Is he going to tell us the team? Is he going to talk to tactics?'

"And he basically went round and spoke to everyone and told them how special he felt they were both individually and as a team.

"He started telling a story about himself when he was younger and how he grew to where he is now. Then he started talking about how, in the future when we get to 50/60/70 and we see each other again, the bond we will have.

"When you go out onto the pitch and it's 11 v 11 and there are millions of people around the world [watching], it's very intense. You're relying on your teammates around you, you can't do anything on your own.

"To go into battle at the highest level, against the best players, with the highest pressure, and to come out on top, that forms a bond between you all that will almost never be broken.

"In the future, when you see someone and you're walking past them on the street, you can look them in the eye and think, 'He would've spilled blood for me on that night, he rose to the occasion'.

"It was emotional but just the most unbelievable teamtalk that made us all feel a real team before we went to play that game."

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