and intelligent footballer, which we always knew he had, but he didn't have the consistency of Paul Scholes. He has been fantastic this year. De Gea has improved as the season has gone on. Next year he will be even better.
“There are a lot of pluses for us. Our goals for is much better and our goal difference is much better. The improvement has not just been through Robin [van Persie], who has been fantastic anyway. Even if he doesn't score he is still a great footballer. Kagawa will be a far better player next year. We expect improvement from Welbeck and Cleverley as well as they get older, so we are in a pretty good position.”
Asked whether this squad has the ability for sustained success, Sir Alex added: “The only thing I can say is that we are not going away. The last 20 years tells you that. It is a tough league to win. You have Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea. The top of the league is getting tighter all the time.
“We have had an exceptional season in terms of points. But that is the kind of expectation this club has got. Next year will be no problem. They will be young enough to go again. We have one or two issues with Ryan [Giggs] getting a year older, Paul and Rio Ferdinand. But we are compensated by the fact we have players maturing all the time.”