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Sir Alex Ferguson told his backroom staff that Manchester United would win an unprecedented Treble after the Red Devils pipped Arsenal to the Premier League title on the final day of the season.
United needed to match Arsenal’s result against Aston Villa to reclaim the Premier League but an early Les Ferdinand goal for Spurs at Old Trafford made for a nervous afternoon.
David Beckham equalised shortly before half-time to get United back in it before Andy Cole’s sumptuous lob gave Ferguson his fifth league title at the club.
It meant United had completed the first leg of the Treble but they were aiming to become the first English side to complete the feat and they had Newcastle and Bayern Munich to come in the FA Cup final and European Cup final respectively.
Talk of the feat had been banned at United’s training ground but Ferguson broke his own rule after the full-time whistle against Spurs,
Steve McClaren joined United as Ferguson’s assistant in the January of 1999 and didn’t taste victory at the club until a loss against Lazio in the Super Cup the following season.
McClaren says Ferguson was particularly worried about the game against Spurs but told his backroom staff after the victory that United would win the lot.
Speaking to Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville on Sky Sports, McClaren said: ‘The gaffer [Ferguson] did say after this game “That’s the one, we’ll win it all now”‘.
‘He knew this game was the biggest, he knew we had to get over this hurdle to win it. I felt the momentum started after the semi-final in the FA Cup against Arsenal with the penalty save and Giggsy’s goal.
‘I think everyone in that dressing room after that game felt that we weren’t going to lose for the rest of the season. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had that feeling and I’ve never had it since.
‘You just got the sense that was it, that was the biggest hurdle. He knew we’d win the FA Cup, he was so confident of that. ‘He wasn’t so confident of the European Cup but in the end momentum pushed the team forward.’