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Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that his players give Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side a guard of honour at Old Trafford in 2005 so they could feel the true pain of failing to lift the Premier League title, according to former Manchester United defender Phil Neville.
Of course, just months after 'The Special One' was appointed manager of Chelsea following his successful spell at FC Porto, where he won the coveted Champions League, he immediately delivered the Premier League title in his debut season, disrupting the dominance of Arsenal and Manchester United.
Mourinho's side only lost once in the 2004/05 season after winning 29 out of a possible 38 games and at the end of the season, they would finish an incredible 18 points ahead of United in the league table.
It was a bitter blow for Ferguson's men but to teach them a lesson in how to lose gracefully, while gearing them up for the challenge next season, Sir Alex made sure his players gave their full respect to Mourinho and his team at Old Trafford in a bid to fire them up, says Neville.
"I remember at Old Trafford we had to do a guard of honour on our own patch for Chelsea and it was almost like Sir Alex enjoyed it,' he told Premier League Productions.
"It was like "This is going to hurt you this, seeing a team that has got your title come out at your stadium and you have to applaud them"'.
"It was almost like a motivation [tactic] for the season after to make sure that it didn't happen again. That's how we used it.
"Ultimately you've got to give respect to the best team in the league with the best manager and the best players by giving them that guard of honour. I think it's something that should just be done out of respect for the team that won the league."
Two years later and, after Sir Alex strengthened his side to win the Premier League in 2007, the United boss decided to field the likes of Tomas Kuszczak, Kieran Lee, Dong Fangzhou and Chris Eagles when it was Chelsea's turn to give The Reds a guard of honour at Stamford Bridge.
It was a bizarre spectacle. Plenty of outlets reported that these teams were weakened because of the forthcoming FA Cup final in mind, but it was most likely a ploy by Sir Alex to make a spectacle.
We still can't help but applaud the sheer audacity of it all.
In that same year, Mourinho was sacked from his job in 2007 and well, it's fair to say the Chelsea players didn't take it well.
Steve Sidwell, who only spent a single season at Stamford Bridge, was among the squad and he detailed his emotional farewell speech.
"Jose came down to the dressing room to say his goodbyes and gave a speech about how proud he was and the relationships he built with the players," he told talkSPORT.
His speech actually led to tears from some of the clubs biggest stars including Didier Drogba who 'was inconsolable'.
"I looked around that dressing room and there were tears coming from the players' eyes. I'm talking Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard, you name it. There was not a dry eye in that room. Drogba was inconsolable.
"He went round and he embraced every player one by one.
"I was only there for four or five months at the time and I remember thinking, wow, this is powerful."
Whatever you say about the man, that Mourinho side in 2004/05 will go down as one the Premier League's finest.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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