He's furious at losing the title and even with a month to go until the new season, Fergie's firing back
06:55 GMT, 20 July 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson is determined to win back the Premier League title next season and with it banish the memory of losing out to Manchester City on goal difference.
In a revealing interview while on tour in South Africa, he tells Sportsmail why Manchester United are still the team to beat, and gives his views on a number of controversial issues including Rio Ferdinand’s England snub and what cost Kenny Dalglish and Harry Redknapp their jobs.
Listen up: Sir Alex Ferguson puts his arm around Michael Carrick on tour in Durban
ON LOSING THE TITLE TO CITY
Has last season and what happened energised you
Yeah, definitely, I’ve lost my temper and I’m angry.
Did it affect you more because it was City
If you lose the league like that it doesn’t matter who it is, it’s hard to swallow. But once the season is over you have to say ‘right, OK, we will just go again’. That is the great quality we have at this club, we will be all right next season. People may say Manchester City are the team to beat but I don’t agree with that. We are the team to beat because of the way we react, the way we have bounced back from losing the league in the past, and I think we will be strong this season.
What cost you
The Everton game was the killer. With seven minutes to go we were 4-2 up and hit the post, then they scored two at the other end.
You can analyse every game you want to, but we still lost the league on goal difference. It’s the first time it has really happened to us. Goal difference is usually such a strong thing for us. If you look at the derby defeat at home, 6-1, if we had kept it at 3-1 that would have been a six-goal difference and we could have wiped that out quite easily in the Swansea or Sunderland games.
Crucial: Man United's 4-4 draw with Everton was a turning point in the title race
ON REDKNAPP, DALGLISH AND SUAREZ
What did you make of the managerial changes at Tottenham and Liverpool
When England turned to Roy Hodgson I thought Harry would have a problem. I don’t think his relationship with Daniel Levy has been that good, ever since he arrived there. That was maybe an opportunity for Levy.
There was a lot of blame put on the talk of the England job. The press were all for Harry, that was a handicap to him really in terms of his relationship with Levy so I wasn’t surprised at that.
I wasn’t surprised at Kenny leaving either. I think that the Suarez incident… John Henry has obviously looked at that and felt it wasn’t handled in the right way. It certainly wasn’t a nice thing to happen, you know.
Do you think the Suarez controversy cost Dalglish his job
I’m not sure. I think it must have been part of it.
Brendan Rodgers has said it’s time to move on, but what do you think about Suarez bringing it up again this week
Yes, I’ve seen he’s gone back and talked about it. It’s not going to go away if Suarez keeps on making headlines out of it.
Controversy: Did the Luis Suarez scandal cost Kenny Dalglish his job
What do you make of his claims that United have too much political power
I don’t think that is anything to do with Manchester United. I think that was to do with Patrice Evra.
But it wasn’t Evra’s contribution, it wasn’t Suarez’s contribution, it was the expert they called in to explain the cultural differences. He was the guy who killed Suarez.
And the handshake controversy at Old Trafford
The handshake was disappointing. He came out and said Evra’s hand was low. There is no doubt Evra put his hand towards him. I think Evra expected him not to shake hands. Evra actually said that to the lads. He just felt that he wasn’t going to shake his hand.
He was sort of embarrassed to put his hand there. It’s Suarez, he’s the one who should be making the effort to do something about it.
ON RACISM IN FOOTBALL
Football is having a difficult time in the spotlight with the Suarez incident and the John Terry court case. Even though Terry was found not guilty, the evidence didn’t paint the game in a great light did it
I don’t think there is cause to worry about racism in England. Since I have been down here we have made great strides forward. I don’t see any problem with the game in terms of race.
Obviously I don’t know what Terry said, there’s a lot of speculation about what he said and why he said it, but I don’t think it’s a problem.
Cleared: John Terry will not face any punishment
ON RIO FERDINAND’S ENGLAND SNUB
Did Rio suffer because he couldn’t be in the same squad as John Terry
I don’t know about that. I’m not sure exactly about that. Maybe Roy didn’t fancy him. It’s a possibility.
Will Rio play for England again
I don’t think so. I can’t see it. I don’t think it’s on his agenda either. He’s 34 now and he wants to ensure he’s fit for us.
Will he get a new contract at United when the current one expires next summer
At his age it would be a one-year contract extension. As a centre back, if you stay fit and look after yourself you should be playing until your 37. As long as he manages himself properly he can do that.
I think he’s doing his yoga and that helps. He had a terrific season. He probably played his best football for us for a long time because he was playing quite regularly.
The last two years he’d been playing for a week, out three weeks, then coming back. Rio and Jonny Evans hit a bit of form together, that carried from December right through to February and March. He played three games in seven days, when we played Bilbao in the Europa League, and got through it.
Snub: Rio Ferdinand was not called up for Euro 2012
Does Rio tweeting so much concern you
I don’t understand it and I don’t know why they do it. I can’t understand why people can bother themselves with it, to be honest. As long as they don’t talk about the team, and he’s well aware of that, then it’s OK. I don’t think we can stop him.
ON ROONEY’S PERFORMANCE AT EURO 2012
Wayne was criticised for his performance at Euro 2012. Was that inevitable given the amount of time he had off before
Definitely. We know him better than anybody. If Wayne misses a couple of games, it takes him three or four to come back.
He needs a lot of football. He’s a big lad. He is stocky and he needs a lot of games. I always thought it was a difficult one really. He’d not played since his last game on May 13 until the third game of the Euros more than a month later.
I don’t know what his stats were but he certainly didn’t look as sharp as normal. When he played one big game in four days and then had to play another one, that is very hard.
Too much pressure on Rooney playing for England
Great players have to live with that. It’s a fact of life. I read that Argentina have never taken to Messi. Don’t ask me why. That quite amazes you. Then he goes and scores a hat-trick against Brazil with that incredible third goal.
If anyone in Argentina can complain about him then Jesus Christ! It’s quite amazing that, but it’s what happens with good players.
Off target: Wayne Rooney was not playing well at the Euros
People were saying Spain weren’t the
force they were, then Xabi produces the kind of performance he did,
man-marking Pirlo and playing off him. It was brilliant. Great players
have to deal with these things. It doesn’t matter who you are.
Is Wayne reaching his peak
he has improved is his consistency in scoring goals. He got 32 last
season and that has made a difference to his game. It’s difficult to say
whether he is at a peak or not, but his goalscoring has given us more
of a reward.
ON DANNY WELBECK’S FUTURE
What’s Welbeck’s contract situation
We are negotiating with his brothers. They represent him. It’s difficult to say where we are with that at this moment in time.
He scored a fantastic goal against Sweden at the Euros. Is he developing into the great player you predicted he would
Obviously he will have to improve his goalscoring. I think he got nine goals last season, but if you are going to be a top striker you have to get 20 goals or above. That will happen to him, I think he will do that.
He’s got good movement and courage. And confidence with the ball. If you look at the games he played for England at the Euros, he’s never played three games in seven days before — well certainly not for us — so he did really well in that respect.
That’s where maturity and development comes in. He’s always had growth spurts and things, so we fostered him right through that period when he was developing. I don’t think he’s got his full body yet. I think there’s a lot of growth in him.
I don’t think he’ll get taller, he’s 6ft 3in now. He’s very powerful and once that growth thing stops I think you’ll find he can play three games in seven days. There won’t be a problem with that.
Challenge: Ferguson has told Danny Welbeck he must score more goals
ON SIGNING A NEW LEFT BACK
Evra has played non-stop for five years and Fabio has gone to QPR. Do you have to bring somebody in
Yes. We have two young lads we gave a bit of time to (against AmaZulu) last night but they are young. Patrice will be all right. He’s shown he has a resilience about him and has a great attitude to playing, but he is 31 next month.
Is it difficult to attract players because they see Patrice playing every game
That’s a possibility. But we are not at the stage where we’re assessing that. It’s not an easy decision to make.
ON GIGGS AND SCHOLES RETIRING
Will this be the last season for Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes last year
Yes it could be Paul’s last year. I think if we can get a good season out of Paul he will be satisfied with himself. Ryan, on the other hand, I think can play for another year after this one.
One more year: Ryan Giggs (centre) can play for longer, says Fergie
ON HIS OWN HEALTH
People were concerned when you were taken to hospital with a nosebleed in May. What was the problem
It was just a nosebleed. I’d taken too many flights that week. I think it was a bit silly to be flying as much as I did — Belfast, Berlin, Glasgow to Manchester and back to Belfast. It was seven flights in seven days but we are all vulnerable to age aren’t we
Maybe that was a way of telling me to slow down a bit in terms of travelling. It’s not as if it was anything to do with my heart, obviously.
When the club doctor explained what he thought it seemed reasonable to me. It was things like cabin pressure that play a part.
I think if you do a straight 12-hour flight to South Africa and back then there wouldn’t have been the same problem. But I was going up and down in planes all the time.
You are human then
Not many people will agree with you there!