Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra revealed the aftermath of his nightmare debut against Manchester City with Sir Alex Ferguson in the changing rooms.
The Frenchman, who enjoyed an illustrious career at Old Trafford with five Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph, explained that the ex-United manager gave the whole squad a grilling at half-time of the 3-1 defeat to their rivals in January 2006.
Evra, who had failed to make an impact during the first-half, was substituted and disclosed that his agent apologised after the match for bringing him to United and making ‘the biggest mistake’.
‘My first introduction to the real Sir Alex was my debut against Manchester City,’ Evra explained to the Guardian.
‘At half-time he gave the hairdryer for one minute to every player. It was a long 15 minutes. At the end he say to me in five seconds: ‘Patrice, sit down. You will learn how to play in England.’
‘That night my agent said: ‘We made the biggest mistake coming here. I’m sorry.’ I was upset but I was burning.’
The defender openly aired after the match that he was not prepared for the style of football in England, but he quickly found his feet with the Red Devils to become their first-choice left-back.
Evra spoke of his respect for the Scot, but said that after a strong first-half display at Tottenham from himself, Fergie still put him in his place because he was a ‘strong’ character.
‘The new generation are softer than we used to be,’ he added.
‘I give you an example. At half-time we’re beating Tottenham 2-0. Everyone’s saying: ‘Patrice, you’re playing amazing.’ The worst is when Ferguson stays quiet.
‘He was quiet that day for five minutes. He looks straight in my eyes. ‘Patrice, do you think you’re playing good?’ I say: ‘Yeah.’ Ferguson says: ‘I saw you pass the ball back to Van der Saar.’
‘Yes, boss, but just one.’ He said: ‘If you pass the ball back again I take you off because this is one of your worst games.’
‘My eyes start burning because I don’t like the injustice. We won 4-0 and the next day I go to Ferguson’s office. ‘Hello, son, what’s the problem?’ ‘Boss, the problem is yesterday.’
Ferguson says: ‘Patrice, some players were disrespecting the opposition. I wanted everyone focused. I picked you to give them the message because you’re strong.’
Evra said that he and Ferguson remain in touch and that he enjoys the former French international’s videos that he posts to social media dancing and singing.
‘We are still so close now. I speak to the boss three times a month and his nephews love my videos. One day he texted me: ‘Patrice, I love that video.’ I say: ‘Boss, one day you give me the hairdryer, now you’re laughing about my videos.’