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Sir Alex Ferguson's four favourites at Man Utd who were given "special treatment"

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After just a few months at the helm, Erik ten Hag has already got Manchester United back on course after a rotten 2021/22 campaign.

United sunk to new lows under the temporary stewardship of Ralf Rangnick, who stepped in to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ten Hag has managed to banish memories of United’s worst-ever Premier League campaign by instilling some much-needed discipline back into the Old Trafford dressing room and overhauling a squad that was bereft of confidence and leadership.

In many ways, the club has struggled since the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary regime. But while the fiery Scotsman was renowned for his strict leadership style, even he allowed certain players some leeway.

Former Tottenham and United striker Dimitar Berbatov was a part of some of the best teams that played under Ferguson during his trophy-laden tenure – and he lifted the lid on how the former Old Trafford chief managed to continually coax the best out of some of United’s biggest names.

“The hierarchy in football, it’s always there with the players,” Berbatov previously told Mirror Football. “It doesn’t matter when anyone tells you. When you are a star in a football team and you deserve to be one, of course, from time to time you will have special treatment from the manager.

“I remember Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville when we used to train, they trained a bit differently so they could save themselves for the games, and there is nothing wrong with that. This is normal in football.

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Sir Alex Ferguson gave Man United’s special players, like Cristiano Ronaldo, a bit more leeway
Getty Images)

“When you are a great football player sometimes the manager is going to give you more special attention. As long as you help the team win the game, this is normal in football.

“Sir Alex was very good at making a point to speak to everyone individually, so you didn’t feel left out. Even if you didn’t play he would know how to speak with you. So it was the same with Cristiano Ronaldo, and in the end, we saw the results.”

Ferguson may have been willing to make allowances for Ronaldo, but Ten Hag was not. After all, the Dutchman was working with a player in the twilight of his career; Ferguson had the luxury of calling upon Ronaldo as he was approaching the peak of his powers.

Ten Hag admitted earlier this month that he has been using Ferguson’s old blueprint for success in a bid to make Manchester United great again.

So far, the Dutchman has worked wonders to sort out United’s dressing room and get them in the mix for the title: after what they endured last year, that’s more than enough for United fans right now.

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