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The Red Devils boss admits he had no idea of the club’s intentions beforehand and is delighted by the gesture, but admits the occasion may have affected his players

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that the club’s decision to rename Old Trafford’s North Stand in his honor took him completely by surprise.

“I was really emotional,” he told reporters. “I couldn’t believe it and I didn’t expect that.

“I have to thank the club for that because it’s fantastic of them to do it. I’m really proud of this moment.

The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand was officially unveiled on Saturday before United’s clash with Sunderland, in order to commemorate the Scot’s achievements in 25 years at the helm.

After the match, which United won 1-0, Ferguson revealed he had no prior knowledge of the club’s intentions, and added he was left humbled by the gesture.

Ferguson joked, “I never knew a thing about it. Mike Phelan knew about it and he never told me – so he’s sacked!"

“But I had absolutely no idea and neither did my family – I don’t think they did anyway.”

Saturday’s win came in spite of an unusually flat performance from United, and Ferguson admitted the size of the occasion may have affected his players.

“Possibly, yes. The players wanted to do well for me. I think that was obvious, but these occasions can be a bit like that.

“I remember when we commemorated the 50th anniversary of Munich, against Manchester City, and that certainly got to the players that day."

With the milestone now passed, the United manager is looking forward to getting back to the task of trying to reel in rivals Manchester City at the top of the table.

“I’m glad it’s all over," he said. "We can kick on now.”

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