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Just how much control did Carlos Queiroz have when he was Manchester United assistant coach? October 20, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer.
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In his contrast of the Manchester United and Manchester City defenses, the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor writes the following about the team’s preparations for the 2008 European Cup semifinal against Barcelona:

The best defensive performances of Ferguson’s tenure can probably be traced back to Carlos Queiroz’s time as assistant manager. Many of the players found Queiroz’s methods bogged down in specifics – “It was as if he didn’t want us having too much fun in the week so we’d be hungrier on Saturday,” Gary Neville writes in his autobiography – but it did produce results. Queiroz’s daily routine before the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2008 was to put sit-up mats on the training pitch to mark exactly where he wanted the defenders to be to the nearest yard. “We’d never seen such attention to detail,” Neville recalls. “We rehearsed time and again, walking through the tactics slowly with the ball in our hands.” United went through over two legs, with Barcelona not scoring in either.

Just how much control did Queiroz have? Because if he was dictating the defensive positioning, you’ve got to wonder what exactly Sir Alex Ferguson was doing. You’ve got to wonder just to what extent Sir Alex Ferguson is even in control anymore. It makes you wonder whether Mike Phelan is really running the show right now. Queiroz and his predecessor Walter Smith were both storied managers, but Phelan has no experience. Strange.

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