Sir Alex Ferguson mocked ‘babies’ Arsenal in Manchester United team talks, reveals Rio Ferdinand


    Rio Ferdinand with former boss Sir Alex Ferguson (Picture: Getty)
    Rio Ferdinand with former boss Sir Alex Ferguson (Picture: Getty)

    Rio Ferdinand has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson would often mock rivals Arsenal before Manchester United’s matches with the Gunners.

    Ferguson’s United side had a fierce rivalry with Arsene Wenger’s men at the turn of the 21st century, with the two teams sharing the league title for seven years straight between 1997 and 2004.

    However, while Ferguson rebuilt another great team at Old Trafford, Wenger struggled to replicate the success of his early years at the club from 2004 onwards.

    Arsenal’s title-winning sides of the past were a mere memory as United continued their success in the late 2000s and Ferguson’s men inflicted a number of humiliating defeats on the Gunners, most notable the 8-2 victory at Old Trafford in 2011.

    Perhaps the biggest humiliation for Wenger was the manner in which Ferguson dropped his rivalry with the Frenchman, swapping hostility with passivity as the Gunners struggled to compete.

    Ferdinand celebrates United’s victory against Arsenal in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2009 (Picture: Getty)
    Ferdinand celebrates United’s victory against Arsenal in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2009 (Picture: Getty)

    While Arsenal still played some of the best football in the country, the Gunners were heavily criticised for their weak mentality and ability to be bullied.

    ‘Something Sir Alex Ferguson used to say about Arsenal during his team talks was, ‘Get in their faces. They don’t like it, they can’t deal with it. They’re babies,’ Ferdinand told William Hill.

    ‘Get right up against them and you’ll win this game. Rio, you’ll overrun them, you’ll overpower them…’’

    Arsenal’s title drought is even longer than United’s, with the Gunners last winning the league title in 2004.

    United’s last victory came in Ferguson’s final season in 2012/13.

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