Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United will bounce back "better than ever" next season after missing out on the club's twentieth league championship by the slenderest of margins.
This time last week (Sunday), the Reds striker looked to have scored the title-clinching goal for the second year in a row - 12 months after his priceless penalty at Ewood Park. But when the tantalising advantage created by his 20th-minute header at the Stadium of Light was cruelly overturned by Manchester City's injury-time exploits, Wayne was left wondering what might have been.
“Of course, you wish it hadn’t happened like that for our fans," Rooney told ManUtd.com, when reflecting on the last-day drama. "And for us as players, it was sickening really to lose the title like that.
"Our fans were brilliant all day, even when Man City scored their first goal. We obviously knew on the pitch they had gone 1-0 up and we were also aware when QPR went 2-1 up.
"When the final whistle went, we didn’t really know what the score was. But then we heard the Sunderland fans cheering. It was sad to see that because they should be supporting their own team really. They didn’t have the best of seasons themselves so for them to be cheering like that was sad. It was something that myself and a lot of the players won’t forget.”
Although the silverware is now with City, Rooney still feels proud of United's league campaign and positive about the bid to bring the trophy back to Old Trafford in May 2013.
"We can hold our heads up high because we pushed Man City all the way and it went to goal difference," Rooney told ManUtd.com. "We’ll be back, no worries about that, we’ll be back stronger.