Shinji Kagawa has explained how Alex Ferguson’s infamous “hairdryer” treatment could silence the Manchester United dressing room.
The Japan international was signed by Ferguson in June 2012 and lifted the Premier League title in the iconic former manager’s final season in charge in 2012-13.
Kagawa considers his short time under the 73-year-old as a vital learning curve in his professional career and has hailed the “aura” the Scot created within the United camp – especially when he voiced any frustration at his players during half-time team talks.
“He normally left the training to the coaching staff,” Kagawa recalls of his time under Ferguson. “The day or so before the game, he just turned up at the stadium or hotel.
“Although I had heard about the [hairdryer] rumour before going to Manchester, I hadn’t seen any managers shouting that hard. It really was like a hairdryer, as he is called, he shouted really hard with his face really red, especially at the core players.
“It was my first season, so he maybe overlooked me a little bit and I didn’t get shouted at very much. The fact that he can shout at leading players such as [Wayne] Rooney, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, Rio [Ferdinand] shows his presence. Those players have to take it in and cannot say anything, so the players respect him that much. His aura and his driving force are really great and I thought that’s why he had the ability to manage those players.
“I think it was a great experience for my football life that I played his last season with him, someone who has the greatest number of titles in football and is a legendary manager. It really was a big moment to be with that kind of person.”
Kagawa spent two seasons at Old Trafford before returning to Borussia Dortmund last year, after Louis van Gaal deemed his surplus to requirements.
The 26-year-old admits the demand for success created an “incredible pressure” at the 20-time English champions, but is adamant he does not regret his decision to join the club.
“There is incredible pressure. As you play under that incredible pressure, it’s important how much you believe in yourself and your own talent when you play. And you have to show it on the pitch,” he explains.
“Those who can keep achieving results are the big players at the big clubs. If you cannot get the results, you just can’t play and move away. I think there are just two ways to go. It’s very severe but it’s very clear.
“There were a lot of things that you cannot experience in other places. I felt that Manchester United are a big club with fans and attention all over the world.
“If you show a good performance there, you’ll get praised by the fans and get attention around the world. It was a very good experience to play in that kind of place.
“I also feel proud of Dortmund and the current football we are playing is one of the best in the world. And I want to show it off in the Champions League next season. I respect Manchester United, but I have respect to Dortmund as well.”