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Bradley Wiggins: Highlight was playing with Paul Weller

Winning the Tour de France and another Olympic gold medal was great, but highlight was jamming with Weller, admits Wiggins

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 29 December 2012

A spectacular 2012 was brought to a fitting conclusion for Bradley Wiggins when he received a knighthood in the New Year Honours – but nothing compared to being on stage with his hero Paul Weller.

Highlights of the 32-year-old's year have included being the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and winning his fourth Olympic gold medal, while earlier this month he was the runaway winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Scroll down to watch Wiggins and Weller

In the spotlight: Wiggins has had a year to remember after adding Olympic gold to his Tour de France win

In the spotlight: Wiggins has had a year to remember after adding Olympic gold to his Tour de France win

Wiggins is almost as famous for his
love of mod culture as he is for his exploits on two wheels, with
spectators at the Olympic time trial donning fake sideburns in his
honour.

Last week he joined Weller to perform The Jam classic 'That's Entertainment' during a charity concert at Hammersmith Apollo.

And asked for his highlight of 2012, Wiggins said: 'For me it's probably the obvious one, apart from Sports Personality, playing at Hammersmith Apollo with Paul Weller last Wednesday was incredible.

'That topped it for me, and that's not a joke. It was amazing. Playing a Jam song as well, I mean how many people get to do that'

The irreverent personality that has captured the public's imagination perhaps sits oddly with a knighthood, awarded for services to cycling, but Wiggins believes it sends a good message in the age of celebrity culture.

Pleased to meet you: Wiggins with music icons Paul Weller (above) and Liam Gallagher (below)

Pleased to meet you: Wiggins with music icons Paul Weller (above) and Liam Gallagher (below)

Bradley Wiggins

Sir Dave salutes team

Dave Brailsford has paid tribute to the collective effort of those he oversees at British Cycling and Team Sky after he was knighted in the New Year Honours list.

The 48-year-old has received the honour at the end of a year in which he led Great Britain to eight cycling gold medals for a second successive Olympics and Team Sky to an historic one-two in the Tour de France.

On his knighthood for services to cycling and the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, Brailsford, who is British Cycling performance director and principal of Team Sky, said: 'It is a bit surreal really.

'It is quite humbling and it really is something to try to get my head around.

'I'm very lucky and aware that the sport of cycling has grown and that we have had great success because it is a team effort over a long, long period of time.'

He said: 'It's quite something really. I never imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour but there's a slight element of disbelief, and it will take a while to sink in.

'There was never any doubt whether I'd accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a Sir, and I probably never will.

'I don't like profiting from status so it's more for my family. It's nice for my parents and grandparents to be able to say I'm a knight, and for my kids in the future.

'To be deemed good enough to have a knighthood by the establishment is quite nice really, because I've continued to be myself through most of the fame.

'Not all of it's been good, a couple of swear words and things, so it's nice to be able to receive this after everything, it shows you don't have to have a stiff upper lip and say all the right things all the time.

'It's a nice advertisement for our culture I think because so much of it is based on being something you're not with celebrity, so it's reassuring in a way.'

Wiggins had been widely tipped to receive the honour after his superb achievements this year, but he admitted he thought he may have missed out as time ticked by before he finally received notification two weeks ago.

'I was in Spain on a training camp so it came quite late,' he said. 'I actually thought, early December, you normally hear by now, so I thought maybe it wasn't going to happen this time so when it finally did come I thought, “Blimey”.'

French fancy: Wiggins leads team-mate Mark Cavendish on the final stage of the Tour de France

French fancy: Wiggins leads team-mate Mark Cavendish on the final stage of the Tour de France

Here Wiggo! The Brit was then cheered home to win the Olympic Time Trial

Here Wiggo! The Brit was then cheered home to win the Olympic Time Trial

Wiggins admitted he initially struggled for motivation as he thought about trying to follow 2012, but he has thrown himself back into training and is planning to ride both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 2013.

There is still uncertainty about whether he will bid to defend his Tour crown or support team-mate Chris Froome, who finished second this year.

Wiggins said: “It's about setting new goals and going out and doing something else. It might not top it, it might not ever top it, but you have to go back to work at some point.

'Initially motivation was an issue but you actually crave going back to that routine and that structure. I really enjoyed being in camp again with the team and going back to what got you there in the first place. There are things I still want to do within the sport.

Another one for the collection: Wiggins was also named Sports Personality of the Year

Another one for the collection: Wiggins was also named Sports Personality of the Year

'I'm doing the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France as a new challenge, and that's very much what we're training for at the moment.

'The priority is the Tour of Italy and then we go to the Tour and it could be in a support role to Chris Froome, it could be both of us, it could be me again, it really depends on how the season pans out, on results and form and even whether both of us make it to the Tour.'

Looking further into the future, Wiggins has his sights set on an Olympic swansong in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where he hopes to return to the track.

'I'd love to go to Rio,' he added. 'That would be an incredible way to finish it all with a fifth gold medal, and I would like it to be back on the track in the team pursuit where it all started in Sydney for me.'

BRADLEY WIGGINS FACTFILE

1980: Born April 28 in Ghent, Belgium before growing up in London. Son of Australian former racing cyclist Gary Wiggins.

1992: Begins track cycling at Herne Hill Velodrome, London.

1997: Wins individual pursuit gold at Junior World Track Championships in Cuba.

2000: March – Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.
October – Bronze in team pursuit at Olympic Games in Sydney.

2001: September – Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

2002: July – Silver for England in team pursuit and individual pursuit
at Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Gold in individual pursuit at Track
Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

2003: August – Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
September – Wins opening stage of Tour de l'Avenir.

2004: August – Olympic gold in individual pursuit at Athens Olympics.
Also wins silver in team pursuit alongside Steve Cummings, Paul Manning
and Rob Hayles and bronze in Madison alongside Rob Hayles to become
first Briton since 1964 to win three medals at one Games.

Bradley Wiggins

2005: September – Wins stage eight of Tour de l'Avenir.

2006: July – Makes Tour de France debut, riding for French team Cofidis.

2007: March – Wins gold in the individual pursuit and team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Palma, Majorca.
June – Prologue victory in Dauphine Libere.
July – Finishes fourth in Tour de France prologue in London behind Swiss
winner Fabian Cancellara but his team, Cofidis, later withdraw after
team-mate Cristian Moreni fails a drugs test.

2008: January – Wiggins' estranged father, Gary Wiggins, is discovered unconscious in New South Wales and later dies.
March – Wins individual pursuit, team pursuit and Madison gold at Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.
August 16 – Successfully defends Olympic individual pursuit title with gold at the Laoshan Velodrome.
August 18 – Olympic team pursuit gold alongside Ed Clancy, Geraint
Thomas and Paul Manning in a world record of three minutes 53.314
seconds.
August 19 – Favourite for Olympic Madison alongside Mark Cavendish but
ninth-placed finish results in Manxman suffering the ignominy of being
the only member of GB's track team to leave the Laoshan Velodrome
without a medal and has a public falling-out with Wiggins.

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish

October – Releases autobiography titled 'In Pursuit of Glory' detailing his struggle with alcohol after Athens Games.

2009: July – Secures fourth place in Tour de France, matching highest-ever placing by a British rider.
September – Wins British Time-Trial Championship.
October – Wins stage five time-trial and overall title at Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia.
December 10 – Signs four-year deal with Team Sky, the BSkyB-backed road
team which is being led by British Cycling performance director Dave
Brailsford.

2010: February 7 – Makes Team Sky debut at Tour of Qatar, helping squad to victory in the race's opening team time-trial.
March – Finishes third overall in the Tour of Murcia.
May – Wins Giro d'Italia prologue to become second Briton to wear race
leader's pink jersey, the maglia rosa. The victory gives Team Sky a
Grand Tour stage win at the first attempt.
July – Finishes 24th on Team Sky's Tour de France debut, upgraded to
23rd after Alberto Contador is stripped of the title for a doping
offence.

2011: March – Finishes third overall in Paris-Nice stage race.
May – Wins fourth stage of Bayern-Rundfahrt as team-mate Geraint Thomas wins overall.
June – Wins traditional Tour de France warm-up Criterium du Dauphine. Wins British Championships road race.
July 8 – Abandons Tour de France after fracturing collarbone in crash on
seventh stage. Wiggins was sixth overall, 10 seconds behind race leader
Thor Hushovd, entering the stage.

Bradley Wiggins is carried into an ambulance

September – Finishes third overall at the Vuelta a Espana, with Team Sky
colleague Chris Froome second. Finishes second in World Championships
time-trial before helping Cavendish win the road race.

2012: February: Wins stage five of Volta ao Algarve.
March – Wins Paris-Nice overall, completing victory with win on stage eight.
April – Triumphs in Tour de Romandie, winning stages one and five.
June – Successfully defends his Criterium du Dauphine title and wins
stage four time-trial for an unprecedented series of results.
July 7 – Takes the Tour de France yellow jersey after stage seven.
July 9 – Enhances hold on maillot jaune ahead of the first rest day with
a first Tour stage win, on the stage nine time-trial to Besancon.
July 21 – Wins the time-trial on the Tour's penultimate day to all but secure victory.
July 22 – Confirmed as Britain's first-ever winner of the Tour de France.
August 1 – Claims gold medal for Team GB at London 2012 in Olympic road time-trial.
November 7 – Taken to hospital after a collision with a car near his
home in Lancashire. Wiggins suffered bruising, a fractured rib, a
bruised lung and a dislocated finger.
December 16 – Wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, finishing
ahead of second-placed Jessica Ennis and third-placed Andy Murray.
December 28 – Awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

Bradley Wiggins joins Paul Weller onstage in Crisis Christmas Concert

That's Entertainment: Wiggo steals the show from Weller as he joins him onstage in Crisis Christmas Concert

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UPDATED:

14:04 GMT, 21 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins gave us plenty of entertaining sporting moments in 2012, but on Thursday night he was providing entertainment of a different kind.

The BBC Sports Personality winner surprised fans at the Paul Weller Crisis Christmas Concert when he joined the singer onstage for a roof-raising performance of That's Entertainment at the Hammersmith Apollo.

The cycling superstar is already known for liking the odd impromotu performance. He leapt up on stage after the Sports Personality of the Year award to give party-goers a rendition of the same song.

Scroll down for video

Bradley Wiggins joined Paul Weller on stage at the Crisis Christmas Concert

Firm friends: the pair have recorded a radio program together, set to air on Boxing Day

Bradley Wiggins performed That's Entertainment after SPOTY

Mod-rocker: It's not the first time Wiggins has given the song a go – he also treated party-goers to a performance after SPOTY

He stuck to his comfort zone behind Weller, strumming away on a red guitar in the background and only briefly making his way forward to the microphone to add some backing vocals.

Wiggins is known to be a fan of the singer, and the two have become firm friends.

They have even recorded a program together for BBC Radio 6 Music, called When Bradley Wiggins Met Paul Weller, which will be aired on Boxing Day.

Wiggins entertained guests at the BBC's aftershow party after picking up his Sports Personality gong, too.

Sir Alex Ferguson"s Harvard management techniques analysed

Analysing Fergie's master class: Sportsmail takes a closer look at Sir Alex's blueprint for success

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 20 December 2012

An in-depth study of Sir Alex Ferguson and his management techniques has revealed the Manchester United manager at his most candid.

Put together with Ferguson’s help by Harvard Business School in America, the study is entitled ‘Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United’ and provides a genuine insight into how the 70-year-old has been so successful for so long.

Here, Sportsmail’s Ian Ladyman picks out his highlights and provides his own analysis of Ferguson’s methods…

University challenge: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

University challenge: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

Study: The front page of the Harvard Business School thesis

ON PLAYER POWER

Sir Alex Ferguson: Some English clubs have changed managers so many times that it creates power for the players in the dressing room. That is very dangerous. Football management in the end is all about the players. You think you are a better player than they are, and they think they are a better manager than you are.

Ian Ladyman: At one English club in the North West the captain tries to tell the manager what he is doing wrong. That wouldn’t happen at Old Trafford. Ferguson welcomes input from his players, but only when he asks for it.

ON HOW ANDREA BOCELLI INSPIRED A TEAM TALK

SAF: I once heard a coach start with: ‘This must be the thousandth team talk I’ve had with you,’ and saw a player respond with: ‘Yeah and I’ve slept through half of them.’ So I tell different stories and use my imagination. I remember going to see Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer. I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the co-ordination and the teamwork — one starts and one stops, just fantastic. So I spoke to my players about the orchestra — how they are a perfect team. You can get help from some of the players. Bryan Robson, for example, was brilliant.

IL: To Ferguson, the team ethic is everything. He encourages and seeks out individual brilliance, but won’t tolerate anything or anyone who begins to feel they are bigger or better than anybody else. Several players have discovered this to their cost over the years.

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

ON MOTIVATING PLAYERS

SAF: There is no room for criticism on
the training field. For a player — and for any human being — there is
nothing better than hearing ‘well done’. Those are the two best words
ever invented in sports. Also, you can’t always come in (after a game)
shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No one likes to get
criticised. But in the dressing room, it’s necessary that you point out
your players’ mistakes. I do it right after the game. I don’t wait until
Monday, I do it, and it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is
no point in criticising a player forever. And I never discuss an
individual player in public. The players know that. It stays indoors.

IL: To hear Ferguson criticise a
player in public is rare. He did it with Rio Ferdinand after the
defender refused to wear a ‘Kick It Out’ T-shirt this season and
regretted it immediately. The issue was sorted in private at the
training ground the next day. Compare that with Roberto Mancini at
Manchester City, for example, who constantly seems to criticise Mario
Balotelli. Two different methods. Who is to say which one is best

ON MANAGING MILLIONAIRES

SAF: We fine them, but we keep it
indoors. You can’t ever lose control — not when you are dealing with 30
top professionals who are all millionaires. And if anyone steps out of
my control, that’s them dead.

IL: The speed at which United hustled
Roy Keane out of the door in 2005 shows how quickly Ferguson moves when
he feels one player has started to have a negative effect on the rest.
As for fines and internal discipline, you can be sure it happens at
United. It’s just that they never tell anyone.

Shifted: Roy Keane was shown out of the door at Old Trafford in 2005

Shifted: Roy Keane was shown out of the door at Old Trafford in 2005

ON UNITED’S YOUTH POLICY AND LETTING OLD PLAYERS GO

SAF: The first thought for 99 per cent
of new managers is to make sure they win — to survive. They bring
experienced players in, often from their previous clubs. But I think it
is important to build a structure for a football club, not just a
football team. You need a foundation. And there is nothing better than
seeing a young player make it to the first team. The idea is that the
younger players are developing and meeting the standards that the
older ones have set before. The hardest thing is to let go of a player
who has been a great guy. But all the evidence is on the football field.
If you see the change, the deterioration, you have to start asking
yourself what it is going to be like two years ahead.

IL: Players like Phil Neville and
Nicky Butt — founder members of the modern United — were both struck
dumb when Ferguson told them their time was up at Old Trafford. Did
their manager and mentor make the right decision, though Absolutely.

Is he talking about you, Scholesy

Sir Alex Ferguson says he would never try to coach the aggression out of his players, but, without naming him, he did pick out one who liked a tackle or two.

Paul Scholes has been hailed as the best English player of his generation, but the midfielder is not known for his tackling prowess.

Though he falls short of Patrick Vieira’s Premier League record of eight red cards, Scholes has four reds to his name and two in the Champions League. He is also third on the all-time Premier League yellow cards list, just five shy of a century.

PREMIER LEAGUE YELLOWS

Kevin Davies 99
Lee Bowyer 99
Paul Scholes 95

ON AGGRESSIVE PLAYERS

SAF: One of my players has been sent
off several times. He will do something if he gets the chance — even in
training. Can I take it out of him No. Would I want to take it out of
him No. If you take the aggression out of him, he is not himself. So
you have to accept that there is a certain flaw that is counter-balanced
by all the great things he can do.

IL: So who is Ferguson talking about
Almost certainly it is Paul Scholes. So much for the theory that all the
United midfielder’s tackles are merely ‘mistimed’

ON TALENT AND HARD WORK

SAF: I tell players that hard work is a
talent, too. They need to work harder than anyone else. And if they can
no longer bring the discipline that we ask for here at United, they are
out. I am only interested in players who really want to play for
United, and who, like me, are bad losers.

IL: Ferguson’s work ethic is
legendary. He is at United’s training ground at 7am every day. It’s his
club and he sets the mood and the standards. As for him being a bad
loser, well, there are referees across the land who will testify to
this.

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes has not been tamed by Sir Alex

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes has not been tamed by Sir Alex

ON JOSE MOURINHO

SAF: He is very intelligent, he has
charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good-looking guy. I
think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks. He’s
got a confidence about himself, saying ‘We’ll win this’ and ‘I’m the
Special One’. I could never come out and say we’re going to win this
game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness

IL: It’s nothing to do with being
Scottish, Ferguson is merely too cute to brag before he has achieved
anything. Ferguson has always liked Mourinho, ever since the two men
first clashed in 2004. He particularly admires and empathises with the
Portuguese’s ability to inspire and motivate players.

ON NAMING HIS TEAM

SAF: We never reveal the team to the
players until the day of the game. We think of the media and the
players’ agents. And my job is to give us the best chance possible of
winning the match, so why should we alert our opponents to what our team
is For a three o’clock game, we tell them at one o’clock.

IL: Ferguson is an obsessive man and
his obsession about his team line-ups leaking out has long been high on
the list. He got rid of one very high-profile player, for example,
because he suspected he had leaked the team to the opposition before a
big Champions League game.

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

ON DROPPING PLAYERS

SAF: I do it privately. It’s not easy,
but I do them all myself. It is important. I have been dropped from a
Cup final in Scotland as a player at 10 past two, so I know what it
feels like. I’m not ever sure what they are thinking, but I tend to say:
‘Look, I might be making a mistake here,’ — I always say that — ‘but I
think this is the best team for today.’ I try to give them a bit of
confidence, telling them that it is only tactical, and that there are
bigger games coming up.

IL: Some managers tell players they
are playing or not playing by text message. Sometimes the old-fashioned
ways really are the best.

ON GETTING READY FOR THE HALF-TIME TEAM TALK

SAF: There are maybe eight minutes
between you coming up through the tunnel and the referees calling you up
on the pitch again, so it is vital to use the time well. Everything is
easier when you are winning: you talk about concentrating, not getting
complacent, and small things you can address. But when you are losing,
you know that you are going to have to make an impact.

The last few
minutes of the first half I’m always thinking of what I’m going to say.
I’m a little bit in a trance. I am concentrating. I see other coaches
take notes, but I don’t want to miss any of the game. And I can’t
imagine going into the dressing room, looking at my notes, and saying:
‘Oh in the 30th minute, that pass you took…'. I don’t think it’s going
to impress the players.

IL: Managers and their bits of paper
can look ridiculous. What do they write on them ‘In the second half we
must try to score’ Each to their own, of course, and it’s certainly the
case that Ferguson’s coaches write things down. Sometimes, though, your
eyes are your best tool.

Getting ready for the break: Ferguson prefers not to take notes while watching

Getting ready for the break: Ferguson prefers not to take notes while watching

ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH DAVID GILL AND THE GLAZERS

SAF: My best relationship in this club
is with David. Sometimes we disagree, but we respect each other and we
know that arguments are just arguments. He’s very fair. The Glazers
decide (on transfers). They have generally been very supportive. The
Glazers are very low-key. If I owned United and they won the league, I
would be over the moon. I remember when I played with Rangers, when the
directors were under the shower with their clothes on, dancing about.
But the Glazers shook a few hands and had some photographs taken, that
was it.

IL: United fans feel uncomfortable
when they hear Ferguson talk so fondly of the Glazers and that’s
understandable. They don’t choose players, by the way, they merely
sanction, or otherwise, the spending. Ferguson’s relationship with Gill,
meanwhile, is the concrete on which the club is built. I have had
run-ins with both men but were it not for Ferguson and Gill’s combined
effectiveness, United would have sunk during the years of Glazer
ownership.

ON THE SHAPE OF THE SEASON

SAF: We don’t start the pre-season
training at one hundred miles an hour. We do a gradual build-up. And
we’re not normally the strongest in the early part of the season, but
October is usually a month where we get ourselves going again.

I always tell the players, every
season, that if we are within three points from the top come New Year’s
Day, we’ve got a great chance at the title.

IL: This is interesting because United
have tweaked pre-season routines in recent years to try and keep pace
with Chelsea and Manchester City, who tend to come out of the blocks at
lightning speed in August. Ferguson realised United were getting caught
cold and has tried to address it. Mind you, they lost their opening
game this season…

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

ON MOVING WITH THE TIMES

SAF: Some managers are ‘pleasing
managers’. They let the players play 8-a-sides — games they enjoy. But
here, we look at the training sessions as opportunities to learn and
improve. Sometimes the players may think: ‘Here we go again,’ but it
helps to win. The message is simple: we cannot sit still at this club.

IL: Ferguson admires managers like Sam
Allardyce, younger men who innovate to improve. He is happy to take
ideas from them. The club are currently building a ‘sleep room’ and have
installed tanning booths at the training ground so players can top up
their Vitamin D levels.

ON PRACTISING FOR FERGIE TIME

SAF: We practise for when the going gets tough, so we know what it takes to be successful in those situations.

IL: I have no idea how you can
replicate the pressure of added time but it clearly works. Look at what
happened in the Manchester derby recently.

ON TELLING THE REFEREE ABOUT FERGIE TIME

SAF: All I do is point at my watch to help the referee make the right decisions.

IL: Ferguson has always intimidated referees, sometimes on purpose and other times not. Has it worked Occasionally.

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

ON HOW HAVING BEEN A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS A MANAGER

SAF: Do you think Rooney cares He’ll
laugh at me and say: ‘Boss, it was so long ago, and in Scotland. Are
they still part-timers up there’

IL: Ferguson’s success debunks the old
myth that you need to be a successful player to earn respect as a
coach. It’s brains and not medals that get the job done.

ON MELLOWING OVER THE YEARS

SAF: Players live more sheltered
lives. They are more fragile than 25 years ago. I used to be very
aggressive. I am still very passionate and want to win but I have
mellowed. Age does that to you.

IL: Try telling this to Nani, David de
Gea and Alex Buttner, all of whom have been monstered by Ferguson in
the United dressing room this season.

The Fergie files

Revealed: The Fergie blueprint – Man United boss reveals secrets of his success to Harvard academics

I want to pass on my expertise to the next generation of bosses, explains Fergie on decision to reveal all to Harvard professors

Ferguson installed tanning booths so United players could top up their Vitamin D levels

ON LOSING THE TITLE TO CITY

SAF: Another day in the history of
Manchester United, that’s all it was. It created the drama that only
United can produce. I’ve still got a wee bit of anger in me, thinking of
how we threw the league away last season. My motivation to the players
will be that we can’t let City beat us twice in a row.

IL: This is slightly disingenuous. The
drama last May was largely created by United’s neighbours across town.
You can be sure of the anger he still feels, though. Very sure.

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

ON WINNING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AGAIN

SAF: We are in a country where
tribalism is rife so that puts tremendous pressure on you to win your
league. But the European Cup is the biggest trophy. I made a mistake
last season in Europe. I played too many young players and we went out.
It was a shock.

IL: Ferguson is obsessed with winning
the Champions League again. Defeats by Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 hurt
him more than he ever really lets on. He still refuses to talk about
2009.

ON A GLASS OF WINE WITH THE OPPOSITION MANAGER

SAF: You have to get the game out of
your system quickly or it becomes an obsession. Win, lose or draw. We
show our face and keep our dignity. We are Manchester United.

IL: Some of Ferguson’s post-match TV
comments can lack the dignity he talks about, but he isn’t alone there.
He does always offer visiting managers a drink, though. One of the
reasons Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger is shown so little warmth by Premier
League bosses is that he has never embraced this tradition.

Unpopular: Arsene Wenger never sticks around for a drink with other bosses

Unpopular: Arsene Wenger never sticks around for a drink with other bosses

A few other choice cuts…

ON TACTICS

SAF: Tactics can change depending on whom we are playing I tend to concentrate on one or two players of my opponents—the ones that are the most influential. Who’s the guy who is taking all the free kicks Who’s the guy who’s on the ball all the time Who’s the one urging everyone on

The rest of the time I concentrate on our own team. On Friday we take our players through a video analysis of our opponents: their strengths, their weaknesses, their set-pieces, what their team is likely to be, and so on.

On Saturday, we might give them another, shorter version—just a recap of the previous day.

ON PEP GUARDIOLA

SAF: Guardiola is an impressive guy. He’s brought about change in Barcelona, urging the team to always work hard to get the ball back within seconds after losing it. They are gifted but work hard. It was a fantastic achievement. He elevated the status of his players.

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

ON THE HAIR-DRYER

SAF:
You can’t always come in shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No
one likes to get criticized. But in the football dressing room, it’s
necessary that you point out your players’ mistakes.

I
do it right after the game. I don’t wait until Monday, I do it, and
it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is no point in
criticizing a player forever.

ON HOW BEING A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS MANAGER

SAF:
Do you think Rooney cares He’ll laugh at me and say “Boss, it was so
long ago, and in Scotland. Are they still part-timers up there'”

Neil Ashton: Roberto Di Matteo must find form now

Off-key Chelsea stars must find form now or Abramovich may axe Di Matteo

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UPDATED:

23:06 GMT, 18 November 2012

Roman Abramovich mixed with Chelsea fans on Friday night, chatting away ahead of an Alicia Keys gig at Under the Bridge, the intimate concert venue beneath Chelsea's stadium.

He listened intently, mesmerised as the American R&B singer took to the piano and wowed around 150 privileged guests.

/11/18/article-0-1614A65B000005DC-512_634x436.jpg” width=”634″ height=”436″ alt=”Strugglers: Fernando Torres (left) and Daniel Sturridge (right) are under pressure to find a result against Juventus this week ” class=”blkBorder” />

Strugglers: Fernando Torres (left) and Daniel Sturridge (right) are under pressure to find a result against Juventus this week

They do things differently at Chelsea, chopping through seven managers in nine years before Roberto Di Matteo delivered the Champions League in May.

At any other club the Italian would be inducted into a hall of fame in recognition of his achievements since replacing Andre Villas-Boas on March 4.

Instead, the man who brought Chelsea their first European Cup is hanging on to his job ahead of tomorrow's clash with Juventus in Turin.

The club started the season with the chance to win seven trophies but are already out of two.

In Abramovich's circle, it has been noted that Chelsea played 13 matches to qualify for the UEFA Super Cup final against Atletico Madrid in Monaco and seven FA Cup ties to compete with Manchester City for the Community Shield.

They lost both and will be in danger of becoming the first Champions League winners in history to go out in the group stage if they are beaten in the new Juventus Stadium.

Abramovich left Di Matteo to it, opting against a customary training-ground visit to exert a little pressure on the manager.

But he is agitated again, unhappy with the team's performance and questioning the desire of Di Matteo's players after the manager made six changes at the Hawthorns.

The idea of a 'weakened team' is inconceivable to a man who has pumped the best part of 1billion into his Chelsea project since 2003.

The pressure is on and Di Matteo is aware that his managerial abilities are being scrutinised just six months after he celebrated with the European Cup.

Under pressure: Roberto Di Matteo (left) is fighting for his job

Under pressure: Roberto Di Matteo (left) is fighting for his job

Blip: Chelsea lost to West Brom at the weekend

Blip: Chelsea lost to West Brom at the weekend

Ever since Pep Guardiola let it be known that Chelsea is his favoured destination when he returns from a year- long sabbatical in New York, connections are being made all over the club.

For instance, Chelsea's technical director Michael Emenalo makes no secret of the fact that he has a solid friendship with Guardiola's former right-hand man Tito Vilanova, now coach at Barcelona.

Then there is the change of style that Abramovich demanded in the summer, the shift of attacking emphasis and a request to play the ball out from the back.

Having acquired ball-players such as Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard over the past two seasons, the evolution of the European champions should be well under way.

Abramovich began to dismantle the European Cup-winning team when Didier Drogba quit for Shanghai Shenhua and others, such as Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, are vulnerable after the club failed to reach agreement on new contracts.

Next up: Andrea Pirlo and Juventus are looking for victory over Di Matteo's men in Turin

Next up: Andrea Pirlo and Juventus are looking for victory over Di Matteo's men in Turin

The training-ground talk is that this is all being planned in anticipation of Guardiola's arrival, seducing the Catalan coach from afar by building a squad to suit his methods.

That will come later, but Di Matteo's immediate target is to survive a week that sees them visit Turin and then host new Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Di Matteo was thrashing ideas around with his coaching staff yesterday, fearful of the threat Juve will pose inside their own stadium.

They will target Ryan Bertrand after the left back was tormented by the through-balls of Fernandinho and shaken by the twisting runs of Willian during Chelsea's streaky 3-2 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk a fortnight ago.

In form: Shane Long and West Brom beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Hawthorns

In form: Shane Long and West Brom beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Hawthorns

On that occasion the 23-year-old was without the protection of captain John Ter ry and hi s absence, this time through a knee injury, is another consideration for Di Matteo.

So, too, is the shocking form of Fernando Torres. He was substituted after 63 minutes at the Hawthorns and is without a goal in the Premier League since Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Norwich on October 6.

Torres's body language in recent weeks tells its own story, but Chelsea's players will have to buy into Di Matteo's tactics for a tough game in Turin.

The alternative is for Abramovich to listen to that voice all over again.

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Di Matteo: The month which could prove costly

Di Matteo: The month which could prove costly