Sir Alex Ferguson last night congratulated Manchester City on their Premier League success – but warned that it will take them 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 after United's 1-0 win at Sunderland failed to seal the title.
"But the history of our club stands us aside. We don't need to worry about that. I think we have a rich history, better than anyone and it'll take them a century to get to our level of history."
The United manager, who has won the title on the last day of the season on three occasions, was in a philosophical mood about the late drama that took the title to the Etihad Stadium on this occasion.
"At the start of the season, if I remember correctly, I said 82 points would probably win the league this season and we are seven points ahead of that," he said. "But look, it doesn't matter, we've lost the league.
"It is a cruel way to have the title ripped away, but I've had a lot of ups and downs in my 25 years here.
"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 – it's the hardest league 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.
"All we had to do was concentrate on our job and that's what we did, but you are going to get certain types of reaction from the crowd.
"We knew five minutes extra-time was being played at City. Our game had three minutes stoppage time and you don't know what can happen in the extra two minutes, but they got that break and won the game.
"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 be at Manchester United and the experience is good for them – even if it's a bad one. They're a good bunch of lads. The younger players will remember today because sometimes a bad experience is even better for you.
"When you've got a certain character and a good purpose about you, then you shouldn't fear the future and I don't think these lads will. That's how the players are. It's an experience they have never had before. They kept the temperament of the game well, we showed good composure most of the game."
The Sunderland manager, Martin O'Neill, is convinced Ferguson is ready for the challenge from City. "This will only increase his desire," he said. "I don't think he would want this Manchester City team to become so dominant. He will do something about it."Reuse content