He knew exactly what to say to particular players in his team talks to get a reaction from them. He could go all guns blazing and get Wayne Rooney fired up, but with someone like Nani he knew that ripping into him would dent his confidence and so he adopted a different approach.
And in a clip from a new documentary on him, the Scot revealed he would regularly quiz players on their upbringing so he could get an idea of their character and personality.
It was massively important to him for players to not forget where they had come from in life.
“I used to lie in bed thinking about themes where I could address the players that would make an impact on them,” the 79-year-old said in Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In‘, the new documentary directed by his son Jason.
“I would talk about miners, shipyard workers, welders, toolmakers. You know, people who’ve come from poor backgrounds.”
“I used to ask them: What did your grandfather do? What did your father do? I have to get the feeling inside them that what their grandfathers worked for, their grandmothers, is part of them,” Ferguson continued.
“They have to display that meaning. And, taking away all the trophies I’ve won, and all the players I’ve had, I think it’s a thing about life. It’s a fact of life that where we come from is important.
“You come out with an identity. I come from Govan. I’m a Govan boy.”
The film on Ferguson will be in cinemas from May 27, before it is released on Amazon Prime Video on May 29.
“I lost my voice, just could not get a word out, and that was terrifying – absolutely terrifying.” Sir Alex said.
“And everything was going through my mind: is my memory going to come back? Am I ever going to speak again?
“There were five brain haemorrhages that day. Three died. Two survived. You know you are lucky.
“It was a beautiful day, I remember that. I wondered how many sunny days I would ever see again. I found that difficult.”