Sir Alex Ferguson congratulated Manchester City after they pipped Manchester United to the Barclays Premier League title on a dramatic final day of the season.
The Reds won 1-0 at Sunderland thanks to Wayne Rooney’s first-half header but lost the title on goal difference as Roberto Mancini's men came from behind to beat ten-man QPR 3-2 courtesy of two stoppage-time goals by Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero. Gracious in defeat, Sir Alex doffed his cap to the local rivals and praised his own team for a professional job in spite of immense pressure and distraction from the Etihad Stadium.
“I would like to say on behalf of Manchester United, congratulations to our neighbours,” Sir Alex said. “It is a fantastic achievement to win the Premier League, it’s not easy to win, it’s the hardest league in the world and anyone that wins it deserves it.
“We knew there were five minutes of injury time being played there, one of our assistant referees informed us of that. Our game only had three [added] minutes so for two minutes [after our final whistle] we didn’t know that was happening. Of course, they got the break and won the game.
“It was a cruel way but we’ve experienced many ups and downs in the 25 years that I’ve been here and most of them have been great moments. We have won the league three times in the last five seasons and we nearly did it again today.
“All we had to do, I said it before the game to the lads, was concentrate on our job because you are going to get certain types of reaction from the fans - you saw that from our fans and from Sunderland’s when City scored a third goal. You just have to put that to one side and concentrate on your own game, which I think we did pretty well.”
Not one to panic, Sir Alex says the future looks bright for United after his young squad pushed Manchester City to the final minute of the season, despite suffering a plethora of injuries to key areas of the team throughout the campaign.
“We take great credit from the fact that we have had so many injuries this season and we’ve coped with that very well. They are only young players, it was excellent for them.