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Friday 15 December 2017

Ferguson: I'm too old to use the hairdryer

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson insists the days of doling out his infamous "hairdryer treatment" to underperforming players are long gone.

The 70-year-old Scot, who believes he has another two or three years before retirement, said age and experience had mellowed him and he no longer went in for dressing room bust-ups.

"I don't have any confrontations really, not nowadays, although maybe when I was younger I would have," he said.

"If a player answered me back I would head straight for them, this is where the hairdryer treatment comes in. I didn't allow a player to beat me in an argument.

"Now I am older and more experienced and because of that and my time at the club the players have more respect."

That is not to say Ferguson has gone soft in his approach to the players, however, and he accepts he is prone to the odd outburst of frustration.

"There is nothing wrong with losing your temper if it is for the right reasons -- sometimes you are better getting it out of your system," he added.

"My normal pattern of management is to get it out of your system. I tell players after the game and that's it finished -- the next day to me is a new world."

Ferguson insists stress remains an alien concept to him, although he accepts his love of horse racing affords him a valuable release from life at Old Trafford.

"I don't feel stress, I must admit. I was more anxious watching Man City playing (Aston) Villa (earlier this month) than on my own game against Liverpool," he said.

"I was getting to a point at United where I was obsessed with the thing (the club).

"It is a great club but you still need to release yourself from it and it (horse racing) has helped."

And while from the outside the United boss may be seen as overbearing in some aspects of his management style, he believes in the power of positive persuasion.

"Sometimes you have to force players into being better than what they think they are," he said, adding that he liked strong characters in the dressing room but had noticed a change in the way that manifested itself in the modern-day footballer.

"The character is laid back and they are not 'pushers'.

"You see personalities in the dressing room and we've had plenty -- (Bryan) Robson, (Mark) Hughes, (Roy) Keane, (Steve) Bruce, Incey (Paul Ince).

"You knew they could not be bullied out of a game. If you wanted football they could play football, if you wanted to make it physical they could be physical.

"They could set the tone of any game they wanted because they were that good.

"Since then I've had deeply strong personalities but not (those who are) forcibly demonstrative about it.

"Players of different generations have the same strength but they do it on the pitch."

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