Sir Alex Ferguson was so angry at Manchester United missed out on a second Treble he didn’t speak to his players for two weeks.
Fergie’s United famously scooped the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in 1999, an historic haul that has never been repeated.
But United were on course to repeat the feat in 2008, when they won the Premier League and Champions League, only to come up short in the FA Cup.
United were beaten 1-0 by Portsmouth in the quarter-final at Old Trafford, despite dominating against Harry Redknapp’s side, who went on to lift the trophy.
Had United beaten Pompey, they would have faced Championship opponents in the semi-final and final, in West Brom and Cardiff, and would have been favourites to go all the way.
But the Treble dream ended against Redknapp’s men, with United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney revealing Ferguson was so livi dhe gave his players the silent treatment.
“I remember the boss, it was for about two weeks,” recalled Rooney. “He didn’t speak a word to us. He knew that was the chance of doing the Treble again.”
The tie was memorable for many controversies, not least referee Martin Atkinson’s refusal to award United a first-half penalty when Sylvain Distin floored Cristiano Ronaldo in the box.
Pompey went on to win after being awarded a 78th-minute penalty themselves for a foul on Milan Baros by United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, for which he was sent off.
Kuszczak had come on at half-time for the injured Edwin van der Sar, and without a recognised goalkeeper, defender Rio Ferdinand went between the posts for United.
Rooney fancied himself as a goalkeeper, often putting the gloves on after training, and suggested he could have gone in goal, rather than Ferdinand, that day.
“The biggest mistake the manager made was not putting me in goal,” said Rooney.
“But I think he was worried I wouldn’t have saved the penalty and then we’re 1-0 down, so he needed me to try and score.”
Despite that painful exit, United went on to seal the league title and then beat Chelsea on penalties in an all-English Champions League final in Moscow.
Rooney likened the United side of 2008 – which boasted him, Ronaldo, Tevez, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick – to Brazil in their pomp.
“I used to love watching Brazil when I was growing up,” said Rooney. “The football we are playing is similar.
“The movement and passing is brilliant and I love playing for this team. It’s just a pleasure to play football like this. It’s why you want to be a footballer.”
- Rooney: Teenage Kicks is on sale February 17th. Pre-order for 25% off (£15, rrp £20) from reachsportshop.com.