Date: 24th May 2007 at 2:07pm
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Sir Alex Ferguson feels his third successful team differs from the previous ones in the amount of foreign players – but they’ve blended magnificently, according to the boss.

Of course, foreign players have always been important part in United’s successes. Cantona, Kanchelskis, Schmeichel, Stam, Johnsen, Solskjaer – to name a few, in no particular order. Yet the boss feels that his third outstanding team is less British than the previous ones.

“I don’t think this set of players is like the previous two teams at all,” he told the Inside United magazine. “It’s different altogether; there are a lot of foreign players in the side now and in that sense the make-up is so different.

‘We’ve got an Argentinian, a Dutchman, three Frenchmen, a Portuguese, a Serbian – it’s a real mix of nationalities. Football has changed that way and the Premiership has gone down that route. So, when building a new team, you’ve got more work to do in terms of getting the team to gel, getting that understanding and spirit of Manchester United.

“But take Vidic and Heinze – they show that great example of determination, they’re warriors. I think once the foreign players get inside the club and they understand the history, it seeps through to them and they become Manchester United players. The make-up of the side makes this one different to the previous two, but all three had that same desire and winning mentality.”

Fergie’s right: the most important is that players should understand Manchester United completely. If they can do that, it hardly matters whether they are foreign or not. But what he can’t deny is that for all the foreign influence, his teams have always had a British core – and this one is no different.