Manchester United were fabled for scoring late goals during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, with fans of the Premier League coining the phrase “Fergie Time” for a supposed advantage the Red Devils held over their opponents when they were not leading.
Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, was unfortunate enough to experience this concept in reverse. United became accustomed to conceding stoppage time strikes during the Chosen One’s short spell in charge. Defeat to Swansea in the FA Cup and a 2-2 draw with Fulham will remain prevalent in supporter’s memories.
Speaking to BBC Chief Sports Editor, Tom Fordyce, former Manchester United coach, Rene Meulensteen, explained why the Old Trafford outfit scored so many later goals under Sir Alex.
"It is not luck. It is a quality. You work on it in training. We would set a practice game up and say to the players, you are 2-1 down and there are 10 minutes to go, and you have to win. Okay. Now you have five minutes. Now you have three.
"With 10 minutes to go, you should be able to get at least six balls into the box. Five minutes, maybe four. Train the players to cope with that, to deliver the quality under pressure. If you just lift the ball into the box, that won't get you anywhere. Think about the pass.
"Look at the clock. Don't fear it. If it shows 82 minutes, that gives you eight minutes plus four in added time. 12 minutes. In that time, you should get at least seven quality balls into the box. And one of them should lead to a goal."
Perhaps the most famous late goals scored by United came in 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. The German outfit were 1-0 up in the 90th minute, when referee announced three minutes of added time. Stoppage time strikes from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in 91st and 93rd minute, won the match and European title for the Red Devils.
According to an investigation undertaken by Opta Stats, for matches stemming over three seasons from 2010-2013, there was no statistical evidence to suggest that Fergie time applied specifically to Man United. However, statistics did show a bias towards the top flight’s biggest teams.
Whether 'Fergie Time' was anything more than a psychological advantage remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, the club have certainly lost the element of danger in the final phase of a match since Sir Alex’s departure.
The supporters will be hoping next season's manager can reinstall the winning mentality at Old Trafford - reinstating United as the relentless force the club has always proven to be.