Sir Alex ready to respond
Sir Alex Ferguson is still smarting from Sunday's agonising title defeat to Manchester City but has warned that United will respond next season.
In a passionate declaration of intent, the manager told MUTV that the Reds will continue investing in young players who will continue to form the character of the club. The manner in which United lost the crown to neighbours City may hurt but he retains faith in old heads like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and will be adding to the squad this summer.
"Obviously we knew QPR were in front," he admitted. "I said to Mike Phelan, ‘If City equalise, I’m worried they’ll get a big impetus from it.’ And that’s exactly what happened. I think everyone expected City to win and they made it difficult for themselves. Queens Park Rangers performed very well until they knew they were safe. That was disappointing. It’s hard to digest because we played so well at Sunderland. Their keeper made four fantastic saves, we’ve hit the post twice, hit the bar, missed a couple of good chances, we could have scored eight. When it comes down to goal difference, we’ve only ourselves to blame. This club always misses chances. We’re very charitable to our opponents.
"We have set our stall out for certain players. We want to make sure the evolution of United continues because I’ve been at the club for 25 years and I have to maintain a certain standard that keeps us there all the time."
- Sir Alex Ferguson
“I think we’re disappointed about [losing] the eight-point lead. But I’m not going to have any recriminations for any of my players. They’re a solid bunch of lads, they’re honest, they’ve tried their best. Okay, they’ve made mistakes but there’s a lot of young players who make mistakes and we invest in that. That’s what we’re good at. We’re not like other clubs who can spend fortunes. We invest in players who’ll be with the club for a long time, who’ll create the character of the club, who’ll create excitement for our fans. And we have many players like that. We’re good at that and we’re going to continue that way.
“I think we’re good at it. And there’s an old saying, ‘ if you’re good at something, don’t mend it.’ But we have obviously lots of maturity in the team. I’m sure next season will be Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes’ last season – actually, I’m not so sure about Ryan. He defies age. But it will be probably Paul’s last year. Rio’s 33. But after those three we’ve no issues with age, no issues at all."
Sir Alex will be dipping into the transfer market to enhance his squad and he has specific targets already in mind.
“Yes, we want to add to the squad," he admitted. "That’s in process at the moment. We have set our stall out for certain players. We want to make sure the evolution of United continues because I’ve been at the club for 25 years and I have to maintain a certain standard that keeps us there all the time.
"We don’t always win it but we’re always there which is great credit to our medical staff, our coaching staff – Rene, Mick and Eric Steele have been fantastic – our sports science staff.. they’ve put a lot into our club. There’s nothing materially wrong with us. It’s interesting that one paper said today – I didn’t read it, I was told – that we’ll have to spend millions. And we had 89 points!"
The manager accepts Roberto Mancini's team will remain a threat - not only off the field but on it with the Etihad Stadium outfit competing for similar transfer targets and offering mind-boggling fees and salaries.
"We know that City are going to spend fortunes on players and pay silly salaries," he conceded. "We can’t do anything about that. We’ll look at what we can do in terms of attracting players for the right reasons. Obviously we’ll benefit them financially too, we’re not missing that aspect of it. But we do what we do well and we’re going to stay that way."