‘It’s mediocre’ – Arsenal legend Martin Keown hits back at Sir Alex Ferguson’s tactic after Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand revealed the manager called the Gunners ‘babies’ during of a team conversation

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'It's mediocre' - Arsenal legend Martin Keown hits back at Sir Alex Ferguson's tactic after Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand revealed the manager called the Gunners 'babies' during of a team conversation
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Arsenal legend Martin Keown was unimpressed with Rio Ferdinand’s revelations about talks with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side.

Earlier this week, Red Devils icon Ferdinand revealed Ferguson once referred to Arsenal players as ‘babies’ during a team chat.

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Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues in charge of Man United and is one of the Premier League’s most iconic managers.

But Keown Isn't Too Happy To Hear How He Used To Motivate His Players

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But Keown isn’t too happy to hear how he used to motivate his players

Speaking to William Hill’s Stripped podcast, the former centre-back and Premier League champion explained what Ferguson used to say to him and his team-mates ahead of clashes against title rivals such as Arsenal and Liverpool.

“He [Ferguson] just said, ‘I don’t even need to talk to you, really. It’s the worst Liverpool side I’ve ever seen on a team sheet,” Ferdinand said.

“That was it. And then yes, we won that day.

“And then something he used to say about Arsenal when talking to the team was, ‘Get in their face. They don’t like it, they can’t live without it.

“They are babies. Face them and you will win this game. Rio, you’re going to crush them, you’re going to dominate them…’”

And Keown – who played many games against Ferguson’s Man United for Arsenal – joined talkSPORT to give his reaction.

Ferdinand Revealed That Ferguson Used To Speak Out Against The Opposition To Set Him On Fire

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Ferdinand revealed that Ferguson used to speak out against the opposition to set him on fire

“It’s poor, it’s poor,” Keown began on Friday’s White and Jordan show.

“It was not a good topic. I thought the great Alex Ferguson would have found a little more to do with the players to motivate them.

“Were they playing to stop us? Or were they playing to succeed themselves?

“In our dressing room, for [Arsene] Wenger, it was about us, not the opposition.

Keown Says He Much Preferred The Team Talks Of Arsenal's Most Successful Manager, Wenger

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Keown says he much preferred the team talks of Arsenal’s most successful manager, Wenger


Former Gunners manager Wenger clashed regularly with Ferguson on and off the pitch, with the pair of iconic managers often finding themselves at the top of the Premier League during their respective tenures.

Wenger was one of Keown’s managers during his time at Highbury, and the Frenchman led the Gunners to three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven Super Cups between 1996 and 2018.

Meanwhile, Ferguson has guided Man United to 13 Premier League trophies and two Champions Leagues.

But although the Red Devils legend has won more league titles, Keown says he much prefers Wenger’s managerial style, especially now that Ferguson’s team-talking style has been revealed.

Kewon Made 310 Appearances For Arsenal Between 1992 And 2004

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Kewon made 310 appearances for Arsenal between 1992 and 2004

He continued: “I was in dressing rooms towards the end of my career where I went to work for a coach who would only ridicule the opposition coach.

“I didn’t learn anything from that. I was very motivated myself, but thinking back to Graham Taylor as club manager [he] was very good, George Graham of course very good, an extreme I guess [compared] to Arsene Wenger.

“But I preferred a silent approach, coming in at half-time you replay the game in your mind, work it out yourself and then you want to hear the manager.

“But when you walk in and they talk continuously, you can’t think straight.

“So I just needed a moment of calm, but then tell me what I need to know, and let’s go ahead and do it and improve and win the game.”

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