Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t short of a bit of wisdom.
Given that he managed for a total of 39 years – 27 of these at Manchester United, where he was battling for silverware – he has pretty much seen and experienced it all.
In 2015, two years after he retired, Ferguson released his book entitled Leading, which provided an incredible insight into the man.
One passage reflected on what it means to be a top boss, and why, sometimes, things just don’t work out.
Ferguson summarises by explaining that a manager’s greatest strength is the support of his dressing room as without it players won’t fight for you.
“There is a phrase in football about players ‘not playing for the manager’, which I have seen happen a thousand times,” explained Ferguson.
“Once that happens, the manager is as good as dead, because he has failed in his major undertaking – which is to motivate the players to follow him.”
David Moyes took over from Ferguson before Louis van Gaal was handed the reins and then former Premier League winner with Chelsea, Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese was brought in to restore United to its former glory.
And Mourinho managed this to some degree in that he won the club its very first Europa League trophy in 2017 before finishing second in the Premier League the next season.
Ferguson, according to former United star Dwight Yorke, even backed Mourinho to keep the Red Devils moving in the right direction with his style of play.
Referring to Mourinho’s cautious approach, Yorke told beIN Sports: “[Mourinho’s] done that type of stuff as a manager throughout his career. He’s been very successful doing it this way.
“I had this conversation with Sir Alex last week, and he can’t see him changing because if you’re successful this way, why would you want to change?”
But towards the end of Mourinho’s tenure, things took a turn for the worst.
The now Tottenham boss started to lose the dressing room as spats with the likes of Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw became public.
This, in turn, per Ferguson’s comments in 2015, lead to United’s result spiraling, and it wasn’t long before the Red Devils hierarchy pulled the plug on Mourinho.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was brought in as a temporary replacement – but, crucially, not as another tactician, rather someone to improve the atmosphere at United.
His impact was immediate, with United players suddenly happy to play for their new boss as they felt supported and therefore willing to fight for him.
The Red Devil’s upturn in results lead to Solskjaer being given the job permanently.