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Ren Meulensteen Interview: Man Utd Methods of Success

Email sent: Aug 4, 2021 8:02am
René's insight into Man Utd's success under Sir Alex Ferguson
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René Meulensteen Interview: Man Utd Methods of Success

• René's Coaching Philosophy and Training Sessions
• Sir Alex Ferguson's Management, Culture, Principles and Tactics 

René Meulensteen

René Meulensteen

René Meulensteen was Sir Alex Ferguson's First Team Coach during the most successful years in Manchester United’s history - 1 x UEFA Champions League, 4 x Premier Leagues and 1 x League Cup within 6 seasons (2007- 2013).

René's new book includes:

  • Man Utd's Successful Structure and Organisation
  • Sir Alex Ferguson's Management, Leadership, and Principles
  • Sir Alex Ferguson's Tactics and Philosophy
  • Man Utd's High Speed of Play and Waves of Attacks
  • Scoring Late Goals using Scenario Training (“Fergie Time”)
  • First Team Training Sessions (94 Practices)
  • And much more!

Below you can read our full interview with René all about his fantastic new book...

Written By René Meulensteen

Written By René Meulensteen

Soccertutor.com

1. Why have you written a coaching book?

René Meulensteen
I wanted to give coaches an insight into the parameters of why and how we were so successful during that period, and I hope they learn a lot from it.
Soccertutor.com

2. How was this book created?

René Meulensteen
During my time as First Team Coach, I was in charge of creating and coaching all the training sessions. Along with the detailed explanation of the methods behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United's success, these practices and sessions form the basis of this book.
Soccertutor.com

3. Why were Man Utd so successful during your time there?

René Meulensteen
First and foremost it was because we had a great manager who surrounded himself with the best staff he could find and developed the club in every department. The quality of the squad was also exceptional and there was an incredible team spirit. All of this was combined with every person at the club having a drive for hard work, dedication, competitiveness, and a desire to win.
Soccertutor.com

4. Please tell us a little about Sir Alex Ferguson’s management and the approach at Manchester United… 

René Meulensteen
It is fully outlined in the book but the key aspects were the high expectations at Manchester United, the 100% professionalism, good discipline, and high levels of motivation. Sir Alex's most used words were always "Well Done" - his outlook was always positive, and he also had a burning desire to win, which was contagious and felt by all the coaching staff and the players. Sir Alex always said, "Our approach is 75% about us, 25% about the opposition. Because we are Man United." It was about always reinforcing how good we were, how strong we were. The main focus of all our analysis was always 'how we will beat the opposition.'
Soccertutor.com

5. What were the Principles of Play and how important was a High Speed of Play?

René Meulensteen

I remember vividly the day that Sir Alex called me into his office after I was promoted to First Team Coach. He said, "René, I would like to share with you my ideas of how I expect Manchester United to play, so we’re clear on those principles." He had prepared a flip chart on which he had written down the main principles. Sir Alex continued, "I don't need to tell you how to coach a session, that's all great. I just want to make sure we're all singing from the same sheet. All of these principles are outlined in the book but I will tell you about the attacking principles."

On the second page of the flip chat, it read: 'Possession is Key!' - he continued, "Possession will always have a purpose when we have the ball."

The third page of the flip chart was all about attacking and Sir Alex said, "When Manchester United attacks, I expect them to attack with SPEED, POWER, PENETRATION and UNPREDICTABILITY."  

Soccertutor.com

6. In the book you talk about Rhythm being a key aspect to success. How so?

René Meulensteen
Yes, I believe rhythm is the most important aspect in teams that have possession. Good teams can create rhythm, maintain rhythm, and change rhythm. When building up, it's a slower rhythm - the key is to speed up the rhythm when you are put under pressure or when the areas of play get tighter. The aim then is to switch to one and two touch interplay to move the ball quickly away from congested areas.
​We did a lot of possession games with only 1 touch for this reason. I always used to say in training that if 4 players touch the ball using 2 touch (receive and pass), it'll take about 8 seconds. But if those 4 players play 1 touch, it will take 4 seconds so it will double the speed of play and the rhythm.
Soccertutor.com

7. In the book you outline your key points for every training session, what are they?

René Meulensteen
In training, there had to be a PURPOSE to everything we did. And always a CHALLENGE, because if there’s no challenge players don’t improve. Then we worked on two things: QUALITY and INTENSITY. If you take all four – purpose, challenge, quality, and intensity – players enjoy it. They want to come back for more.
Soccertutor.com

8. What are your key considerations during training sessions?

René Meulensteen

I always ask myself if I have been able to prepare the team well, made individuals better players, and made the team a better team. I then want to make sure we apply our training into the match - and win that match!

Sir Alex always used to remind me, "René, remember everything we do in training manifests itself in the game. Good & bad! We ask for world class performances from our players 2 to 3 times a week. They must always expect world class training and preparation from us as staff." 

In addition, motivation and praising success is key. The secret to positive and effective coaching is to inform, instruct, motivate, and help players to achieve success. As a coach, you also need to highlight and praise that success, as that will be the base from which the players try and do it again.

Soccertutor.com

9. How do you create the right intensity?

René Meulensteen

A coach should want to achieve the right intensity to make the session as close to match realistic as possible, to achieve the right conditioning levels of the players for short explosive movements, and for endurance. It's also all about creating the right level of repetition, so the players have plenty of opportunities to improve.

Soccertutor.com

10. How important is Specific Technical Training with first team players and what was your approach?

René Meulensteen

Technical training is very important, and Sir Alex Ferguson knew that. I used many technical training practices with the whole team, and also many isolated technical training sessions with players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nani, and Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The focus was on dominating 1v1s and finishing, and you can see these practices in the book which include innovative ideas of using certain skills and finishes within different zones of the pitch and the penalty box – the aim was to provide them with the best solutions for every imaginable game situation.

Soccertutor.com

11. How did Manchester United score so many late goals?

René Meulensteen

Late goals and ‘Fergie Time’ were all about waves of attacks. That was all about scenario football. That was what we did in terms of time to always play until the end - it doesn't matter what game we were playing in. There we are, we're 0-0 and we need to win. 10 minutes on the clock... We used scenario training practices to replicate match situations with limited time to score which are shown in the book. By creating the training scenarios, the players start to recognise and understand what was required to score that vital late goal. Scoring late goals became a mindset, a positive focus, and a habit.

Soccertutor.com

12. The final chapter in the book is full of your Manchester United training sessions, what types of practices are included?

René Meulensteen

There are a total of 94 practices in the book which include build-up play, possession games, switching play, playing through the lines, attacking patterns of play against different defensive lines, 2/3/4 ball routines (high speed of play), attacking wave practices, attacking overloads, crosses and box runs, attacking combination play, finishing, defensive shape, pressing and recovery, and the transition from defence to attack.

René gave an interview all about the book with Stretford Paddock and you can watch the full video below...

René gave an interview all about the book with Stretford Paddock

René Meulensteen's Man Utd Training Session & Practice Examples:

  • BUILD-UP PLAY: Build-up Play Against 3 Forwards with the Central Midfielder "Rotating Out" (9v7)
  • POSSESSION: Possession Specific Conditioned Game (7v7, 8v8, 9v9 or 10v10 + GKs)
  • SWITCHING PLAY: 8v8 (+4) Conditioned Switching Play Game with Limited Touches
  • PLAYING THROUGH THE LINES: Playing Through the Midfield Line in a 3-Zone 8v4 Possession Game
  • ATTACKING OVERLOADS: End to End 4v4 (+3) Three-Zone Possession Game (Warm-up)
  • CROSSES AND BOX RUNS: Crosses and Box Runs in a Dynamic Zonal Game
  • ATTACKING COMBINATION PLAY: Functional Attacking Combination 3-Ball Routine (Pass, Move, Cross and Finish)
  • FINISHING: 8v8 (+2) Speed Finishing and Blocking Game + GKs
  • DEFENSIVE SHAPE, PRESSING AND RECOVERY: Defensive Shape and Recovery in a Dynamic 10v10 Transition Game
  • TRANSITION FROM DEFENCE TO ATTACK: 7v7 (+1) in a Conditioned Wave Transition Game with GKs
Buy Now
eBook Versions

Learn, practice and apply René’s exact Manchester United training sessions, enabling your team to reproduce Sir Alex Ferguson’s team’s fantastic attacking style

RENÉ MEULENSTEEN & MAN UTD METHODS OF SUCCESS (2007-2013)
  • 260 Pages
  • Written by René Meulensteen
  • FULLCOLOUR Print
  • 94 Practices
  • U14-Pro Level
Buy Now
eBook Versions

Download The Free Sample:

Standard Weekly Training Pattern + Active Recovery Build-up Play Practice

free sample
free sample
Download Now
eBook Versions

Customer Reviews:

Excellent Read

"Very well laid out from training sessions, practice schedules, and what goes into building a successful team. The structure of how everything is setup is very helpful.."

★★★★

Very Insightful and Useful Information.

"Great resource and very useful information for every coach who wants to raise his/her game. Filled with practical tips on every aspect of coaching both in preparation, execution and evaluation of training sessions as well as how to develop oneself as a coach off the field. "

★★★★

Really interesting

"I found the book really interesting not only for the exercises and game situations. I think that the message we receive from the author in terms of philosophy, work ethic, values from the very best and for a person like sir Alex who was able to implement it for such a long and successful period is fascinating and stimulating for any coach."

★★★★

Amazing Content

"Amazing content with multiple ways to run a futbol program. Everything from culture, to individual drills, to team drills. Everything can be applied at any level."

★★★★

Outstanding Book!

"It is a great help in the individual training of the players. Extremely detailed and authentic! I recommend to everyone!" 

René Meulensteen (Author of this Book)

René Meulensteen is a UEFA Pro Licence holder with extensive experience of working with some of the world's best players at the highest level.

René spent 12 years at Manchester United and was Sir Alex Ferguson's First Team Coach during the most successful years in the club's history (2007-2013). During this period, he was responsible for all of the first team training sessions.

CAREER HONOURS:

  • UEFA Champions League Winner (2008)
  • English Premier League Winner (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013)
  • UEFA Champions League Runner-up (2009, 2011)
  • UEFA World Club Cup Winner (2008)
  • English League Cup Winner (2009, 2010)
  • Arab Cup (now Arab Club Championship) Winner (1999)
  • H.H. Apparent Cup (Qatar) Winner (2000)
  • Emir Cup (Qatar) Winner (2001)
Rene Meulensteen

PREVIOUS & CURRENT COACHING ROLES:

  • Australia National Team Assistant Manager (2018 - Present)
  • Australia Olympic Team Assistant Manager (2018 - Present)
  • Kerala Blasters (India) Manager (2017 - 2018)
  • Maccabi Haifa (Israel) Manager (2016 - 2017)
  • Philadelphia Union (USA) Technical Consultant (2014 - 2015)
  • Fulham FC (England) Manager (2013 - 2014)
  • Manchester United First Team Coach (2007 - 2013)
  • Manchester United First Team Technical Coach (2007 - 2008)
  • Manchester United Reserve Team Coach (2005 - 2006)
  • Manchester United Skills Development Coach (2001-2006)
  • Al Sadd (Qatar) Manager (2000-2001)
  • Al Etehad (Qatar) Manager (1999 - 2000)
  • Qatar Assistant National Team Coach, Qatar FA Development Coach, and Qatar U-17 Coach (1993-2001)
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Coach George
Director of Coaching
SoccerTutor.com

[email protected]
UK: +44 (0)208 1234 007
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SoccerTutor.com, 109 George Lane, London E18 1AN, UK

Best Wishes,

Coach George
Director of Coaching
SoccerTutor.com

[email protected]
UK: +44 (0)208 1234 007
US: +1 305 767 4443

SoccerTutor.com, 109 George Lane, London E18 1AN, UK

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