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Peter Schmeichel Names The One Liverpool Player Sir Alex Ferguson Was 'Terrified Of'

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Peter Schmeichel Names The One Liverpool Player Sir Alex Ferguson Was 'Terrified Of'

Peter Schmeichel has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson was absolutely "terrified" of Steve McManaman, with the Liverpool star "always having him in a sweat".

Ferguson had a knack for nullifying opposition's main threats through man marking, with the likes of Park Ji-Sung and John O'Shea called upon in big games.

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But years before that, the Scotsman devised a special plan to deal with McManaman in the 1996 FA Cup final - instructing a 19-year-old Phil Neville to go wherever he went.

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Ferguson was of the belief that with McManaman kept quiet, Liverpool would not be anywhere near as dangerous.

Image: PA
Image: PA

“In some ways, this was no surprise because Ferguson was terrified of McManaman," Schmeichel recalls in his autobiography One.

"McManaman was the only opposing player he ever paid attention to in the Premier League.

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“I mean, he would mention Alan Shearer and other major opposing players in team talks but never with any fear. However, McManaman always had him in a sweat.

“And, to be fair, Steve was a fantastic footballer. Fergie’s thinking was always that if you took McManaman out of the game, you took Liverpool out."

However, a meeting with United's senior players - Schmeichel, Eric Cantona, Gary Pallister, Roy Keane and Steve Bruce - eventually swayed Fergie to pull the plug.

Schmeichel continued: "‘No this is what we’re doing,’ he affirmed. Then Eric spoke. And Eric never spoke. He said: ‘Gaffer… bad idea.’

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“Fergie said: ‘Aye… okay, we’re not doing it. Lads, off you go.'”

United won the game 1-0 at Wembley, with Cantona scoring the winner five minutes from time.

Image: PA
Image: PA

The younger Neville started at left-back and lined up opposite Jason McAteer, while Bruce was left out and ended up leaving for Birmingham City not long after.

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This was United's third FA Cup win under Sir Alex Ferguson and followed up the Premier League win in the same campaign.

Featured Image Credit: Image: PA

Topics: Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, Liverpool, Peter Schmeichel

Josh Lawless
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