Ferguson will make difference, says Bryan Robson

Old Trafford great insists that Sir Alex's depth of experience will secure league title for United

Bryan Robson believes Sir Alex Ferguson's man-management will be the decisive factor in the Premier League title race. Robson says Manchester United, now "definite favourites" to win the league, will benefit from their manager's unique ability to impose discipline and unity on the players.

"The manager has a massive influence on all the boys," said Robson, who captained United under Ferguson in the 1980s and early 1990s. "He has this winning mentality. He does man-management really well. That can be the biggest difference."

Robson contrasted the situation at the two Manchester clubs. Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli have both angered Roberto Mancini with their conduct this season, while Wayne Rooney was dropped by Ferguson after a night out in December, leaving United without him in a game they surprisingly lost 3-2 at home to Blackburn Rovers.

Standards of behaviour are higher at United, Robson believed. "Another little downturn for City is the little bit of negative publicity; the Tevez saga, Balotelli on a couple of nights out," Robson explained. "Those little things – Sir Alex Ferguson always keeps right on top of them and doesn't allow them to happen. Sometimes that is because he knows the character of the players and doesn't allow it to happen. If your character is like that, bang, you are out of the club."


The example of Ferguson's stance on Rooney, which arguably cost United three crucial points, shows one of their enduring strengths, said Robson. "The boss isn't interested in one individual," Robson said. "He is interested in the whole group. Not just his first-team squad, all the kids in the youth team, the reserve boys: 'I am not standing for that type of behaviour'. That is why he will always clamp down. When you look at certain managers, you ask whether they would have left Rooney out."

That placing of principles ahead of pragmatism was what made Ferguson so brave, said Robson, who was speaking ahead of the Soccerex European Forum to be held in Manchester next week. "They had a million injuries in that [Blackburn] game," Robson said. "He is fielding a depleted team and then he says 'I am not having him'. Wayne is left out. A lot of managers might have fined him but put him in because it was an important game and they didn't want to slip up. The boss saw the bigger picture."

At United, status clearly does not guarantee special treatment. "Does Wayne think he can get away with it because he is one of the top players in the world?" Robson asked. "The boss has shown no. It doesn't matter who you are: 'If you are in my team, you don't get away with that'. Beckham was supposed to be looking after the kids because he wife was ill. He has detectives all over the world."

The experience of having won so many titles would also benefit United. "The other thing in Man Utd's favour is that they have been there, seen it, done it, year in, year out for the last 20 years," Robson said, pointing to how the mentality has changed since United first won the league under Ferguson 19 years ago.

"Fergie's greatest win was his first, it took the shackles off," Robson said. "The players started to relax because it wasn't 26 years [since their last title, in 1967]. Everybody had the confidence to win. That was a big thing. With Manchester City, it is still going to take a bit of time. United have been there, seen it, done it for so many years. City are building.

"Once you have achieved it, the whole squad know what you have done and you get confidence from it. It makes it easier to win it again. When we won it in 1993, in 1994 I never felt so confident. We had a lot of top players. You look round the dressing room and think 'we won't get beaten'. That is why we won the Double."

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice