Sir Alex Ferguson vowed he and his Manchester United players are ready to ‘go again’ in an effort to dethrone new Premier League champions Manchester City next season.
United came within minutes of securing a record 20th domestic title on a dramatic last-day on Sunday but lost their grip on the crown because of two late goals at the Etihad Stadium, which secured City a 3-2 win against 10-man QPR and a first success for 44 years amid scenes of hysteria.
"On behalf of Manchester United I congratulate Manchester City on winning the Premier League," said Ferguson.
"It's not an easy league to win and anyone who wins it deserves it because it is a long haul."
United did their bit by beating Sunderland on Wearside and their 89 points total was the highest for the runners-up in 20 seasons of the Premier League, and online bets placed ahead of the campaign reflected expectations of more Reds success.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game but an air of despondence soon spread once Sunderland supporters started cheering the late goals back in Manchester.
Ferguson said the bitter taste of defeat on goal difference to their local rivals would put hairs on the chests of his younger players and promised he would not walk away from Old Trafford.
It will be interesting to see which team soccer betting tips ahead of next season favour for the the title, but, while the United boss argued the experience would serve his players well, he acknowledged the power was now in City's hands.
"Experiences of a good type enthuse people but, when they have a bad one, it brings a sense of determination in you," he added.
"The players we think we have here, the younger players, they've got a good resolve about them. There should be a good response because they have got the right character.
"Missing out on the title shouldn't do them any harm. We don't like doing it but, at the end of the day, you have to kick on and take the challenges because we are good at that.”