In this month's celebratory issue of Inside United, Rio Ferdinand looks back over another memorable and successful campaign...
How does it feel to have won a hat-trick of league titles?
It’s a phenomenal achievement and it feels unbelievable to have done it. There were a lot of big games during the last few weeks of the season and we kept getting closer with every match. But until you get your hands on the trophy, it’s never completely over. Thankfully it is now and we’re champions again which is a great feeling.
Was there an extra edge to the title race because Liverpool were in the hunt?
Yes, it’s been a bit more intense because it’s a lot closer to home than when it’s Chelsea or Arsenal; suddenly everywhere you go there’s a Liverpool fan! You get a bit of respite when it’s one of the London clubs, but because we’re such close neighbours up here there’s always something being said. And, of course, the rivalry between the clubs goes back a long way.
United got off to a mixed start to the season with just two wins from the first five games. Why was that?
I don’t know to be honest, it’s a strange one. It just took us a while to get going. Sometimes you can’t put your finger on why you have periods like that but at some point in the season you’re going to have a low point and we had one at the start.
The victories at Man City and at home to Sunderland before you went to Japan were big as they kept you in touch with the leaders…
Yeah they were very important because making sure we were still close to them before we went to Japan was a big priority of ours. If we hadn’t have won those games it would have been very tough. We wanted to make sure we left ourselves in the best possible position so that if anyone slipped up while we were away we could come back and strike, and that’s exactly what we did.
After winning the Club World Cup you said "people would now see the real United". Did that victory kick-start the season?
It was definitely a big turning point. When you’re really in the thick of the English season playing two games a week, week in, week out you sometimes can’t focus properly or see where you’re aiming for. Going to Japan allowed us to take a step back and refocus and, by coming home with the trophy, we got that winning feeling back which was important. Being