Why Sir Alex Ferguson used to miss three days in a row of Man Utd training

Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would often be absent for training three days in a row, according to former Red Devils defender Mikael Silvestre. Ferguson won an astonishing 13 Premier League titles at Old Trafford, as well as five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions Leagues. But it appears the Scot would often leave much of the work on the training ground to his assistant managers and coaches.

Ferguson’s job at United went beyond getting the first-team squad ready for a match day, as Silvestre explained.

“[United] is a different model and it used to work with Sir Alex because sometimes he wouldn’t come to training for two, three days and he was probably scouting and meeting agents, doing other parts of the role,” Silvestre told Stadium Astro.

“That’s when Steve McClaren, Brian Kidd, Carlos Queiroz, would take charge of training and it would be business as usual even if the gaffer wasn’t there.”

Ferguson would often change his assistant manager during his 27-year tenure at United.

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Silvestre said having a new face in the dressing room would keep the players on their toes.

“I enjoyed [playing under] all of [the assistant] because they all came with different ideas and it was refreshing,” Silvestre added.

“That’s why also Sir Alex was special because he was clever to pick the right assistant and clever enough to completely delegate the day-to-day work.

“For the players it’s refreshing because it’s a new challenge when you have a new assistant, a new first-team coach and I think that’s a key part of the success at United, having different ways of working.

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“With Carlos especially we did a lot more tactical work and for the U.K. players it was difficult to accept that sometimes we didn’t touch the ball for 15 minutes because we were doing tactical work.”

Silvestre can understand the view from some fans and pundits that it is time United brought in a director of football.

“Yeah it’s fair [for United fans to want a director of football] because there’s so much to do and prepare the team,” he continued.


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“There’s much more media demands for Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and again you don’t show up in front of the media without preparing, so he’s got to prepare for that.

“There’s a lot more interaction with agents, they are much more there, even players have their own physio, have got their own fitness coaches.

“It’s a whole different ball game so you need more than one person to deal with that and get the results.”

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