However, on this day in 2001, not even Ferguson would have expected his side to claim even a point, let alone a win, when the half-time whistle was blown at White Hart Lane.
After all, his team trailed hosting Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in North London. The late Dean Richards, who was making his debut for Spurs following a move from Southampton, opened the scoring when he stooped at the near post to head in, before Les Ferdinand sprung the offside trap to drill beyond Fabien Barthez.
Then on the stroke of the break German utility man Christian Ziege put the home side fully in command with a diving header at the back post.
Whatever Ferguson said to his players during those 15 minutes should be bottled because it inspired them to pull off one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of English football.
Within 45 seconds of the restart Andy Cole reduced the arrears when he headed in Gary Neville's cross. It was viewed at the time as a mere consolation, but when Laurent Blanc converted David Beckham's corner just before the hour mark, United were back in the game.
Eighteen minutes from time substitute Mikael Silvestre sent over a cross from the left for Ruud van Nistelrooy, who levelled up proceedings with a simple header, before Juan Sebastian Veron beat Neil Sullivan in the 76th minute to remarkably put the visitors in front.
Their victory was sealed in the closing stages by Beckham, as the former England captain controlled the ball on his chest to tee himself up for a half-volley that nestled into the bottom corner of the net.
"A great game? I can't take much comfort from that because I've got to look at my own team and we're in the business of trying to win football matches," said Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle during his post-match interview, while Ferguson added: "I'm not saying exactly what I said to them at half time - why am I always asked that?"