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Ferguson spurred on by title defeat

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he was convinced Manchester United would regain the Premier League title from their local rivals on the very day they lost out last year.

Manchester City became league champions thanks to an injury-time goal to deny United - who had thought they had won the trophy after winning at Sunderland. Instead, City claimed the honours - but only setting the stage for United to end Ferguson's career in style by regaining the title.

Ferguson, named the LMA's manager of the year for a record fourth time on Monday night, said: "At Sunderland last year we were champions for 10 seconds! But you can't win them all. That's when I thought we could win it again this season."

He added: "I thought the players were really focused. I think adversity is the best recipe for success, I really do.

"If you had seen our dressing room up in Sunderland the day they lost the league to Manchester City then you had a good feeling about this.

"There was good character in the team, enough experience, great resolve and purpose, and I felt we had a good chance, I really did."

Ferguson also warned young managers to learn their trade at the lower levels of football if they want to make it to the top and that he was against "fast-tracking" of players into top coaching jobs.

The outgoing Manchester United boss started his coaching career at East Stirling before moving on to St Mirren, Aberdeen and then Old Trafford.

Ferguson said: "I'm dead against this fast-tracking of managers. Prepare, learn your trade, get your badges. Work for years at lower levels and you'll have a better chance.

"You have to earn the right to be a manager."

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