Kenny Dalglish has recalled his mind games with Alex Ferguson as Blackburn battled Manchester United for the Premier League title in 1995.
Rovers pipped United to the championship on this day 20 years ago, as Dalglish led Jack Walker’s side from the Second Division to become champions of England.
It was the first time United failed to win the Premier League and, with the trophy slipping from his grasp, Ferguson at one point commented that “Blackburn would need to do a Devon Loch” to lose from there.
Dalglish responded by feigning innocence and asking whether it was a lake in Scotland, rather than the horse that infamously and inexplicably fell while leading the 1956 Grand National.
The Scot recalled that moment while discussing how he dealt with Ferguson’s mind games as rivals.
“I think as a manager, representing the players, you’ve got to stand up for your players if it’s reasonable,” he told Sky Sports. “Not if it’s outrageous and you don’t believe it to be true.”
I think it’s a bit of give and take. Fergie and I get on perfectly well. There’s no problem whatsoever. You’ve got to stand up to him. Players are going to be looking to you as an example.
“I think it is important. As I say, it’s all very well and good playing the mind games, but I think you know what’s coming, or you knew what was coming. The weekly press conference, they came mostly to my press conference after they’d been to Manchester United, so I had an opportunity to reply to what Fergie had said.
“I think he said something about hoping there’d be another Devon Loch if we weren’t gonna win the league. So the press said to me what Fergie said, so I said, ‘whereabouts is that in Scotland?’
“I knew where it was but they never knew I knew. You’ve got to handle it properly. There’s nothing wrong with a disagreement.
“It was only two games so my rivalry was against every opposing manager. For me it was a bigger game on paper but you still get the same number of points. You know what you’re up against, a great side, an intense crowd.”
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