TOM CLEVERLY has opened up on what it was like to work under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
The legendary Scot has a staggering trophy collection from his time at the club, including two Champions Leagues and 13 Premier League titles.
That haul was the result of many things, including a furious temper that he wasn’t afraid of showing his players.
Former Red Devils midfielder Cleverley was one star who was on the receiving end of the infamous “hairdryer treatment”.
The now-retired 34-year-old revealed he butted heads with the manager over a poor performance against Chelsea when he was playing out on the left wing.
However, he then confessed it was the last time he ever stepped out of line.
Cleverley exclusively told Labdrokes Fanzone: “Sir Alex Ferguson just had an unbelievable aura about him, you know?
“He managed to become someone in my life who you just did not want to let down.
“You’d run through brick walls for him, you’d want to catch his eye, you wanted to impress him… that’s the kind of figure he was.
“Once I got a telling off – to put it lightly – in an cup game at Stamford Bridge.
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“I was playing out of position; he put me on the left-hand side and I sort of hinted at that and got a right old hammering from him.
“I was struggling to get into the game and I put it down to the fact he was playing me out of position.
“Put it this way, it was the last time I ever did that because he was absolutely right in his response, which was that I was lucky to be playing at all!
“I just feel incredibly lucky that I played for him as many times as I did, and one of the things I’m very proud of is that I played in his last game in charge, which is definitely one to tell the grandkids.”
Cleverley would help Ferguson lift his final title in 2013, the season after the dramatic final day whicj saw Manchester City crowned champions for the first time in Premier League.
But he revealed what Ferguson said to the team to help them push on to win the league the following year.
He said: “The manager reminded us – after they were crowned champions – the one thing he’d been telling us all season, that we had to continue to be ruthless.
“Even when games were done at two or three nil up, you had to be ruthless and finish teams off because one of these years, the league will come down to goal difference.
“That’s what he said, and he was right, like he was with most things.
“I was naive, back then. I was, what, 21? 22? I was so naive, I just thought that our club will be back. It was normal the club challenged for three or four trophies every year…
“Little did I know there was just one more to come, in the immediate season after, and that we’d still be waiting to this day for another.
“There was a real desire in that. A bad taste in the mouth. That drove us on to be so consistent in that following season. The signing of Robin van Persie took us to the level.
I just feel incredibly lucky that I played for him as many times as I did, and one of the things I’m very proud of is that I played in his last game in charge, which is definitely one to tell the grandkids.
“Not to mention the form of [Wayne] Rooney, [Rio] Ferdinand… you know, Michael Carrick was unbelievable that year. Everyone was consistent that season.
“We didn’t play the greatest title-winning football you’ve ever seen, but games that should’ve been draws, we turned into wins through our desire, and through what happened to us the year before.
“Robin’s left foot, of course, played a huge part in us turning those draws into wins!”
After winning the league with games to spare, Man Utd headed away to West Brom for Ferguson’s final game.
And despite taking a comfortable early lead, the game went on to end 5-5 thanks to a Romelu Lukaku hat-trick.
However, Ferguson was not actually too upset with the result, with Cleverley saying “he was actually quite pleased”.
Cleverley added: “I can’t take any credit for it, but I think I came off the pitch when we were pretty comfortably ahead against West Brom on that final day of the season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge.
“I thought it was a good send off for the gaffer, but things didn’t end up that way. Listen, he wasn’t too angry about it, afterwards.
“I think he was actually quite pleased, he’d never been involved in a 5-5 and there it came, in his last game.
“What I do remember from that day was just all of the players lining up behind him, and letting him go over to the travelling fans and have a proper send off.
“It’s a memory that will always stay with me until the day I die, really.”
Several loan transfers to Aston Villa and Everton would follow for Cleverley in subsequent years.
He eventually left Man Utd permanently in 2015, continuing his top flight career with Everton and later Watford, before he retired at the Hornets last summer.
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