Sir Alex Ferguson: The Driving Force Behind Every Success Of Manchester United

Like of all life’s great winners Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t handle defeat terribly well and he takes defeat to his team’s closest rivals even worse. On the final day of the 2011/12 Barclays Premier League season Sir Alex knew his team faced a tall order to defend their title as they went to Sunderland knowing they had to win and hope Manchester City would slip up at home to QPR. United did their part with Wayne Rooney giving them the lead after 20 minutes and midway through the second half news filtered through that Jamie Mackie had put the ten men of QPR, themselves fighting for Premier League survival 2-1 up. As United’s match finished they faced an anxious wait as Edin Dzeko equalised in stoppage time for City. Then as all others seemed to stop Sergio Aguero, City’s marquee summer signing, paid for every single of his 35 million pounds in one kick as he ripped the title from United’s clutches and placed it in the hands of their neighbours for the first time in 44 years.

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What sets Sir Alex apart from most other managers is the speed and vengeance with which he retaliates. Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 only one manager has managed to keep the title away from Old Trafford for at least two seasons and that was Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho. It is worth pointing out that after that happened Ferguson responded with an unprecedented three successive championships. As he and his team trudged off at the Stadium of Light there was only time for the briefest of regrets about the season just finished before preparations were underway in order to bring the title back to Old Trafford as quickly as possible.

Out went the experience of Park Ji-sung, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen as well as promising youngster Paul Pogba. In came Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and talented Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa. Nothing too drastic from Ferguson with those two deals only just crossing the £40 million threshold. In addition to this United also signed three players for the future in the shape of Angelo Henriquez, Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner. The signing of van Persie saw United triumph in the first key psychological duel of the season as the Dutchman made a clear signal of intent by signing for last season’s runners up as opposed to the champions. The former Arsenal man reiterated this was due to United’s history and so far he certainly seems to have made the right choice.

United started their season in conspicuous style losing their first game of the season to a Marouane Fellaini inspired Everton. They then had two extremely close encounters with Fulham and Southampton. Despite winning both even the most die-hard of United fans would be hard pressed to say their team was dominant throughout. They actually managed to go through September undefeated until a scintillating performance from Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford saw the Red Devils register their first, and to date only home league defeat of the season.

Then, on the 17th of November came the breaking point. Playing against a Norwich side on decent form Sir Alex could have been forgiven for expecting three points from this fixture but the performance his side put on was one of the more shocking that United have produced in recent years. A 4-4-2 bereft of creativity was completely undone by a fluid Norwich side who won the match 1-0 thanks to a wonderful goal from Anthony Pilkington. After the match the media was quick to lay into Ferguson’s side saying this side had no creativity or depth and that City, who by crushing Aston Villa 5-0 had leapfrogged their rivals, would reclaim the title again.

Since that defeat Sir Alex and his side are undefeated in the league. They have gone 18 games undefeated and won an incredible 16 of those matches only dropping points away at Swansea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Now they are 15 points clear of City with eight games to go. Mathematically if United win their next three games (City are one of those) then they will be crowned champions. Last season Sir Alex threw away an eight point lead, it seems almost inconceivable that his side will give up a gap almost twice as big this time around. If the title is indeed confirmed as expected there will be one more statistic that I’m sure Sir Alex will be keen on correcting. In his first season with Chelsea Jose Mourinho led his team to a record 95 points recording only one defeat all season. Whilst Manchester United have already lost two more matches than Mourinho’s Chelsea they have drawn six less matches thereby cancelling out the extra defeats. 19 points are required from eight matches in order to topple this record but with matches against Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea to come it will be a tall order. But if there was one man who you’d bet on making it happen it would have to be Sir Alex Ferguson.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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