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Sir Alex Ferguson admits biggest Man Utd heartbreak did not happen on the pitch

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Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed how breaking the hearts of Manchester United hopefuls was the toughest part of being the boss at Old Trafford.

Fergie won a staggering 28 major trophies in 27 glorious years as United manager before retiring in 2013.

But during that time he was also forced to let countless young players leave the club, after deciding they were not going to make it at United.

Fergie admits he despised having to ruin the dreams of his teenagers and he said: "The process was that the youth coach and the welfare chap would come in with the player you're going to let go.

"Maybe he's only 17, 18 years of age. The way we'd explain it is, we'd try and get him a team. We'd try and get him a club and say 'we're sorry we're having to do this'.

"That's terrible. That is the worst thing, having to let a young player go. All his ambitions and hopes and desires are about playing for Manchester United in front of 75,000 people and going to Wembley in a final.

"That's the ambition of every young kid that comes to Manchester United, and when you take that away from him, it's a sore, sore thing. So I hated that. I hated that."

Fergie reckons his biggest regret as United boss was allowing the defence in his 1994 side to grow old all at the same time.

The Scot's back four of Paul Parker, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and Denis Irwin had helped him re-establish United as a major force in English football once again.

But he was forced to let them all go as he looked to rebuild his defence and he said: "There are always going to be regrets, but the thing is always to look forward. Tomorrow's another day and the next day was better, without question.

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  • "But in terms of the regrets… the 1994 team I had, the back four all seemed to grow old together, and that's a terrible thing to happen to the manager because these guys were fantastic for me.

    "(Paul) Parker, (Steve) Bruce, (Gary) Pallister and (Denis) Irwin were all fantastic players. They gave me nine or 10 years and the evidence is always on the football field.

    "They don't see it. I see it. The problem for me was 'what do I do about it?'. I managed to organise a move for them, and they did well out of it, but telling them was very, very difficult."

    Fergie admits winning was all that mattered during his remarkable career and he added: "My mindset every time I played a game of football was to win. That was the only thing that mattered. It was the winning aspect of it all the time.

    "I think it was just a natural thing for me. My upbringing was a lot to do with that, but the important thing was this inner determination that when I entered the field to play, it was to win. Nothing else mattered."

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    • Manchester United FC
    • Sir Alex Ferguson
    • Premier League

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