Cantona was renowned for his philosophical musings during his time in England and his most famous quotation was uttered after he was handed an eight-month ban for assaulting a Crystal Palace fan in January 1995.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea," said Cantona, much to the bemusement of the British press.
The comment appeared to be a reference to the travails of being constantly trailed by the media, and Ferguson revealed his own interest in ornithology when he spoke about his how his players looked out for each other.
"It's all about team spirit," he said on Sunday.
"In a match, I only need eight of my players to be on top form. If the other three aren't up to it, it's not serious. The other eight do the work for them.
"There have only been six matches where I've had all 11 players perform at their very best. It's like swallows.
"They always fly together in a group, in a V formation, and those at the front do the majority of the work. And they alternate regularly.
"If one swallow flies out of formation, two others go to get him and bring him back into the group. It's the same in my teams -- sacrifice, friendship, and the giving of oneself to the team."