Legendary Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo has criticised Sir Alex Ferguson’s tactics from a Champions League match between AC Milan and Manchester United back in 2010, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The veteran Italian was part of the Milan squad which was humbled 7-2 over two legs in the last 16 of the competition four years ago, but was left annoyed by Ferguson’s decision to deploy Park Ji-Sung as a man-marker in the games. The United boss, who stepped down last summer after a long and prosperous reign at Old Trafford, utilised Park’s energy and determination to nullify the threat of Pirlo’s unparalleled passing ability, but the 34-year-old has revealed in his new autobiography that he was left disappointed by the stratagem.
"Even Sir Alex Ferguson, the purple-nosed manager who turned Manchester United into a fearsome battleship, couldn’t resist the temptation,” Pirlo wrote.
"He's a man without blemish, but he ruined that purity just for a moment when it came to me. A fleeting shabbiness came over the legend that night.
"At Milan, he unleashed Park Ji-Sung to shadow me.
"He rushed about at the speed of an electron. He'd fling himself at me, his hands all over my back, trying to intimidate me.
"He'd look at the ball and not know what it was for.
"They'd programmed him to stop me. His devotion to the task was almost touching.
"Even though he was a famous player, he consented to being used as a guard dog."
Of course Pirlo may take some comfort in the knowledge that Ferguson’s decision to use Park as a ‘guard dog’ was not one purely isolated to the last 16 clash in 2010. The Scot regularly attempted to use players like Park to shut down the key men on the opposing sides, a tactic most recently witnessed when Phil Jones was detailed to man-mark Cristiano Ronaldo against Real Madrid last season.