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'Leave him off, he's French' | Roy Keane on how Ferguson managed Cantona

Kenneth Fox
Kenneth Fox

09:45 9 Sep 2019



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Despite laying into his former manager at one point during the Off The Ball roadshow last Wednesday, Roy Keane did praise Alex Ferguson's style of management on the night.

Keane said that what he liked about his former manager was the fact that he did not try to do too much.

"I always enjoyed working with him and the same with Martin [O'Neill] with Ireland. They weren't necessarily hands-on coaches, but they knew the game and their messages were very straight forward and simple.

"I think Alex Ferguson criticised me when I left saying I was trying to run the dressing room, but we did run the dressing room and there were brilliant characters.

"There was a great culture at Manchester United where it was like a machine," Keane said.

Speaking alongside Gary Neville at the Off the Ball roadshow in association with Cadbury, Keane said it really came down to how Ferguson let the players get on with things.

"Alex Ferguson would step back and let the players manage the session and let the coaches get on with it.

Man management 

"The really brilliant managers almost smell what needs to be said.

"He would say what the group just needed to hear at that particular time, whether it would be before the game or at half-time," the former United midfielder said.

When it came to a player who was known for being notoriously difficult to deal with, Keane said Ferguson had a deft touch with Eric Cantona.

"He was good at managing the group, Gary mentioned Eric [Cantona] for example he would be clever with him.

"Like for example, it's only a daft little thing but at United, it was always smart club suits and we were very respectful when we travelled.

"Eric might turn up with a suit and a pair of trainers. If that was one of us you would definitely be fined or be in trouble.

"Whereas for Eric he would say 'Ah leave him off, he's French.' Then Eric would probably go and win the game on Saturday and to me that's management," Keane said.

Off The Ball were in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre with Roy Keane and Gary Neville with thanks to Cadbury, who are celebrating their third year as 'Official Snack Partner' to the Premier League

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