Abbott had former United defender James Chester on-loan at the time.
He recalled to the Daily Mail: "He rang me on a Sunday night, private number, and said 'Greg. It's Alex.' I said 'Alex who?' "'Sir Alex,' he said. I was suddenly sweating, pacing the house as he thanked us for how we'd looked after James Chester.
"He said 'it's up to you if you play him tomorrow but we are selling James to Hull the following day so you might not want to play him.' So I said 'you're basically saying you don't want me to play him then.' Sir Alex said 'you're going to go a long way in management, son because you learn very quickly.'"