Sir Alex Ferguson claims 6-1 defeat will motivate Manchester United

Manchester City visit Old Trafford tonight

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has likened the sight of Sunderland fans celebrating Manchester City's title win on the final day of last season to an experience his 'Class of 92' went through at Anfield over two decades ago.

Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham were amongst the players who left Anfield on the day United conceded the title to Leeds in 1992 to be confronted by Liverpool fans demanding their autographs.

When they obliged, they were immediately ripped up in their faces.

Ferguson told them never to forget, just as he told his players to keep the memory burning brightly as Sunderland rejoiced in their misery last May.

So, when Manchester City arrive at Old Trafford tonight to stall a championship party and put doubt in United minds, Ferguson expects his players to have more than enough motivation to cope.

"Any United player being involved in that game last year would have to feel it," said Ferguson.

"We have had experience like that before against Liverpool when Giggs, Scholes and Beckham were signing autographs for their fans, who immediately tore them up in front of them.

"Those things stick in your mind.

"The way we lost it definitely resonates with a lot of people in the club.

"The only way you can get over that kind of thing is to be better.

"There was a definite purpose about them in terms of getting the title back, particularly to take it back off City."

This evening's contest also marks City's first Old Trafford visit since their astonishing 6-1 win last season.

The magnitude of the scoreline ended up providing the goal difference advantage that won them the Premier League title.

It also created a stain on Ferguson's momentous 26 years with United that will never be completely erased as City rampaged through three times in stoppage time to condemn their hosts to a heaviest home defeat since 1955.

At the time, Ferguson called it his "worst ever day". He still regards his side's gung-ho tactics as akin to committing "suicide".

But he has never watched it since. And the chances are he never well.

"No. Why would I?" he said.

"I am not into self-flagellation.

"It happened. We threw it away. We committed suicide.

"We were the better team until they scored right on half-time. Then we had a man sent off just after half-time and we still kept chasing the game.

"That was us playing with the history books instead of their brains. It will be different this time."