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Lo stile di leadership di Ferguson

Rene Meulensteen  was a key member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s first-team staff at Manchester United for six years. Here he talks about Ferguson’s leadership style

Vision

The ultimate aim was to win, but Sir Alex wanted to win in a certain style. I can remember him bringing me into his office when he’d made me first-team coach. He had a flipchart and said, ‘listen, Ren – I don’t need to talk to you about how to run your sessions, you know all that. But I’d like to reiterate what I want to see. Possession is important, but always possession with a purpose. When we attack I want to see pace, power, penetration and unpredictability. These are the four things you must instil in the team in every single training session.’

And he was always a big advocate of youth. That meant investing in youth facilities and policies, but also giving opportunities. If ever he had chance to bring a homegrown player into the first team, he would do it.

Delegating

The manager achieved the highest level of management – he delegated. He was overseeing it all, he always stayed in control, but he gave us the freedom to do our jobs as well as we could.

Creating the right environment

There was something else, which I only really realised afterwards: not once did I ever feel any level of pressure, not in the six years I worked for him. I never felt ‘I’m under the cosh here’ or ‘the manager’s not happy with this’. That takes top-drawer management, to make everyone feel that comfortable. We had some tough moments but never got carried away. We were able to very quickly see it in perspective and move on.

Always adapting

Things change … He had this ability to adapt and evolve, which is rare, maybe unique, when you think how long he had been there and how much success he had had.

Being decisive

If a difficult decision had to be made, he would make it … He was never afraid to make the big calls.

Belief

He always said, ‘our approach is 75/25 -75% about us, 25% about the opposition. Because we are Man United.’ It was about always reinforcing how good we were, how strong we were.

Humour

The key to working with such high-profile players is to inform and facilitate. In training, you’re not telling them every step they should make, you’re showing them the options. You back it up with video footage – ‘this is what I talked to you about, this is what I meant’. And you let them evolve it.

If one thing stands out from my time at Man United it was the amount of laughs we had. We laughed every single day. Sir Alex had an unbelievable sense of humour.

Grazie Sir Alex

Fergie's farewell 2: Man Utd v Swansea