Premier League table before their game against Newcastle last month.

United were sixth in the top flight after six games before their 3-0 win at St. James’s Park and were seven points behind leaders Chelsea.

And veteran defender Ferdinand has described how Ferguson’s decision to show them the league table before the game game gave them a much needed wake up call.

He told the Daily Mirror: “Before kick-off, the manager showed us the league table to emphasise that point and it didn’t make pretty reading.

“I don’t really look at the league table until Christmas normally. When we saw it that day, it hit home. We thought, ‘Wow, we need to shake ourselves up.’

“Thankfully, it turned out to be a good day for us.”

And Ferdinand admitted that, despite now being two points clear of rivals Manchester City at the top of the league, United’s faltering start to the season was a lot down to taking their eye off the ball and expecting to win games.

“I think we had got in to a position this season, a bit like we did at the start of last season, where we were just playing open, expansive football and expecting to score three or four goals and no really concentrating as we should on our defending,” he explained.

“This league is unforgiving in that sense. If you’re not on your game in all areas you’ll get punished.

“But I think the performance against Newcastle signalled a bit of a change in mentality from us and hopefully that’s a taste of things to come for the rest of the season.”

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