Reading stars know they will get a blast of the hairdryer that Jaap Stam inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson if they don’t turn it on at Wembley.
The Royals take on Huddersfield in the Championship play-off final on Monday, with £170million and a place in the Premier League at stake.
And woe betide anyone who doesn’t put a shift in against David Wagner’s men.
Former Manchester United defender Stam said: “Sometimes, you need to get the players sharp because you may think they are not bringing what they should to the team. To wake them up, to be very much in their face and aggressive at times can work.
“I do use it, yes, but not as much as Fergie did.”
Stam, 44, is building a reputation as one of the game’s bright young managers after leading Reading to third in his first season there.
And if his side beat Huddersfield, he will be back in the Premier League, which he won three times in three years as a player under Alex Ferguson at Man United.
Not that Fergie was the only manager to shape Stam, who also played for PSV Eindhoven, Lazio, AC Milan, Ajax and the Netherlands national team.
He said: “I had four managers who improved me – Sir Alex, Guus Hiddink, Theo De Jong and Dick Advocaat. I also had managers who people think are great managers, but are very bad managers.
“You can learn from bad managers as well, in how they approach the team and think about things you did not like.”
As a player, Stam also won the Champions League and FA Cup with United, the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV, the Coppa Italia with Lazio and was Dutch Footballer of the Year in 1997.
So, working with players who don’t possess the same natural talent can occasionally be challenging.
Stam added: “Sometimes, when things aren’t working out how you want them to be, it can be hard. There have been times when I couldn’t believe they were not seeing how to play and you give them a b******ing every time. But you can’t expect young players to see straight away what you see.
“With the group, I am quite calm, in the sense that I tell them what they need to do, how can they make it easier for themselves in their way of playing.
“We are tough at times as well, if we think it’s necessary.
“From years and years back, you always had managers who gave players a rollicking if it wasn’t working out. Sometimes you need to do that – if the player keeps on making the same mistakes, you need to be hard on him.
“But it’s better if you tell the players what they need to do, because it’s easier for everybody to say, ‘OK, how? What did I do wrong? What can I do to make it better, to improve?’ If you give that advice it makes it easier for a player to do it better next time.”