Rio Ferdinand is adamant that Manchester United’s disappointment in losing the Premier League to rivals City will ultimately prove to be a good thing.
The England defender joined teammates in confusion, hope and agony at Sunderland yesterday after they thought they were 20-time champions before news spread through the crowd of Sergio Aguero’s injury time winner at the Etihad.
Ferdinand said it was a hard blow to take but expects that this will only make United's rising stars hungrier to succeed.
"It is disappointing to say the least," Ferdinand told BBC Sport. "It is a cruel way to lose the title, with the last kick of the ball this season.
"But there are positives. The squad has been put to its test and done magnificently well.
"A lot of the young players have done remarkably well.
"Hopefully that will put us in a good position next season.
"Maybe with the benefit of hindsight the experience will have done us good."
He added: "We have to take this on the chin, be man about it and dust ourselves down for next season.
"We have to make sure we are ready to fight to get that title back."