Gary Neville has revealed that his Manchester United teammates were boosted by Rafa Benitez's infamous "facts" rant during the 2008-09 season.
Liverpool were seven points clear of their rivals and the favourites to win their first Premier League title when Benitez pulled out a sheet of paper in front of reporters and went on an extraordinary and bizarre five minute rant towards Sir Alex Ferguson.
Neville said in an interview on Soccerbox "I remember being at home that day watching Sky Sports News thinking ‘what has he done?!'"
“It was reported as ‘he’s cracking up’ and then the fans started singing ‘Rafa’s cracking up’ and it did feel like the pressure was getting to him.”
Ferguson had previously complained about the fixture schedule saying it favoured Liverpool. Benitez responded saying: "I am not playing mind games, I am talking about facts."
Neville believes Benitez had fallen into Ferguson’s trap without the United manager really having to do anything and that gave his side's dressing room confidence.
He said: "You can imagine Sir Alex being at home being like 'I've got him.'
"Everyone had talked for 20 years about mind games, even if it didn't exist - and then all of a sudden it looked like he was cracking up."
Despite losing 4-1 to the Reds at Old Trafford, it would be Manchester United's season, winning the title by five points to win their 18th title, drawing them level with Liverpool.
It was not the first time Ferguson's mind-games had made a difference. His famous battle with the then Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan in 1995-96 ended with United winning the league and the Newcastle favourite's now legendary "I would love it if we beat them" rant.