Sir Alex's midfield lynchpin was hurt by last season's disappointments and, as he told Inside United, is itching to get back on the trophy trail...
How much did losing out last season hurt?
It was extremely disappointing for us. This club expects success and although we won the Carling Cup, we just didn’t do enough in the league and Champions League. It’s up to us to refocus, look at what happened last season and move forward. Hopefully we’ll have more luck on the injury front and also learn from the experience of last year. It’s certainly given us an extra determination for this season and hopefully that will help us.
Was it a shock to lose the title after winning it for the past three years?
You just feel very flat. After three fantastic years of winning the league, it was hard to take especially as we really wanted to make it four in a row. We have to look ahead now - there’s definitely a different feeling within the camp after losing out in the big competitions last season and, as I said before, there’s even more determination amongst the lads because of those disappointments.
Has the outcome of last season been on your mind over the summer?
It’s definitely been a summer of reflection in terms of what happened and what we could do better. Of course, there are times when you switch off when you’re with the family and you need to relax, but a lot of the time things were flashing through my mind. You think about certain games and moments and incidents that happened. You always need that little bit of luck to be successful and we didn’t always get it last season – you only need to look at the couple of decisions that went against us in the two Chelsea games and the injuries we had. If those things go your way you’re likely to be in a different position.
Is the cliché true about disappointments giving you extra motivation?
Yes definitely. The best thing about winning is the great feeling you get and when you don’t win there’s that