Sir Alex Ferguson: Manchester United players praise manager

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Players hail 'unbelievable' Ferguson

Manchester United's players paid tribute to manager Sir Alex Ferguson after his final game at Old Trafford.

Goals from Javier Hernandez and Rio Ferdinand ensured United won 2-1 despite a Michu strike for Swansea.

Club captain Nemanja Vidic said: "I think it is a special day, in one way we are happy to get the trophy but in another we are sad the manager is not here another year."

Ferdinand added: "It is phenomenal what he has achieved."

He continued: "It speaks volumes about the type of man he is, and his desire to win, that he leaving the club behind in a healthy state."

Midfielder Michael Carrick admitted it was a strange day following Ferguson's announcement on Wednesday that he would retire at the end of the season.

"It's been an emotional day for everyone. It was a strange feeling and it's been like that all week. It was a special, special day," he said.

"Even in the changing room he tried to keep it as normal as possible but in the back of your mind you were thinking this is the last one. With the reception he got, it was amazing."

Robin van Persie joined Manchester United in August and said Ferguson was one of the main reasons he chose to move to Old Trafford.

The Dutchman added: "It's an unbelievable day but a sad one as well. I had the honour to work with him for one year and it's been an unbelievable year.

"He's made such an impact on me. He may be the greatest manager ever and he's such a nice person.

"Before the game, he couldn't see anything about him retiring. All week he's been focused on what to do and what to expect.

"It's a massive honour for me to say I've worked with him for a year."

Ryan Giggs has played a part in every one of Ferguson's 13 Premier League title-winning seasons and he revealed how the manager's will to win was as strong as ever for the Swansea game.

"Sir Alex just said play the game and not the occasion," Giggs said. "He wanted to win the game, wanted it to be an entertaining game, and for us to do the things he has wanted us to as a manager.

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Ferguson says emotional farewell

"The memories of him that stick out are when I was younger - when I was 13 playing for Salford Boys and looking to the sidelines and there was Sir Alex Ferguson watching."

Jonny Evans, who has come through the youth system at the club, praised Ferguson's impact on his development as a player.

"He's had a big effect on my career," he said. "It's hard to put into words. We probably won't notice it until a few years down the line when he's not here anymore.

"I think he's always had the ability to get the most out of his squad, with rotating the team and motivating players."

Ferguson signed Evans's fellow centre-half Vidic in 2006 from Spartak Moscow and the Serbian defender admits it will take some adjusting to get used to a different manager with David Moyes set to take charge.

He added: "It will be strange not to see him in the dressing room.

"This is a big club and will always be a big club but it is sad after so many years, without him is going to be sad."