Sir Alex Ferguson last night congratulated Manchester City on their Premier League success – but warned it would take 100 years to match the achievement of Manchester United.
"They can go on as much as they like, that's what you would expect," said Ferguson, right, after United's 1-0 win at Sunderland failed to seal the title.
"But the history of our club stands us aside. I think we have a rich history, better than anyone and it'll take them a century to get to our level.
"At the start of the season, I said 82 points would probably win the league this season and we are seven points ahead of that. It is a cruel way to have the title ripped away, but I've had a lot of ups and downs.
"Today we nearly did it and I would like to say on behalf of Manchester United, congratulations to our neighbours. It's a fantastic achievement.
"This is not an easy league, the hardest in the world, and anybody that wins it deserves it. Yes, there will be times when we can sit back and say we did this wrong, we did that wrong, but 89 points would have won the league most seasons. We should take credit because of the fact we had so many injuries and coped with them very well. We have some young players and they have now experienced what happened here today.
"Hopefully in seven or eight years they will still be at Manchester United and this experience will have been good for them. Sometimes a bad experience is even better for you."
The Sunderland manager, Martin O'Neill, is convinced Ferguson is ready for the challenge from City. "This will only increase his desire," he said.Reuse content