players here evolving into the club, I’ve got the old masters and most importantly, I’ve got fantastic staff,” he insisted. “They’re beyond my intellect. I’m a dinosaur, an absolute dinosaur, but what I am… I’m a winner.”
And how. His haul of 13 English league titles is two more than Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly and Brian Clough combined, and this latest challenge has once again brought the Govan street fighter out swinging. Dethroned as champions six times in his Old Trafford rule, he has now brought the title straight back on five occasions.
This time, dropped points against City and West Ham have lengthened the odds of setting a new record points total for the Premier League, but that shouldn’t mask the fact that the Reds’ reaction to losing the league was to set an all-time top flight record for a start to the season: a staggering 25 wins from 30 games. Far from being history, United have re-written it this term.
Roberto Mancini identified how United have done it during his post-Tottenham press conference, admitting the Reds deserve the title because: “They have more attitude, they want it.” Digest the maddening amount of comebacks in the first half of the season, when crippling defensive injuries were overcome by sheer, bloody-minded refusal to accept even a share of the spoils. After that free-flowing abandon had established a seven-point lead going into the turn of the year, it became a matter of wading through games thereafter.
Of course, some are never satisfied. Detractors who bemoaned five months of porous defending have been just as vocal in opposition to the calm, controlled course United have plotted through the second half of the campaign.
Last year, were City’s celebrations muted by the knowledge that United’s complacency was the major factor that handed them the title, or the fact that QPR’s titanic defensive resolve sunk the moment they discovered they were safe from relegation? Not at all, and nor should they be. A title won is a title to savour, invariably won by the best team, and the emergence of City has broadened all emotional parameters