Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, congratulated Manchester City after they wrapped up the Premier League title in thrilling style.
United looked in pole position to overtake City on the final day after their bitter rivals fell 2-1 behind to QPR at the Etihad Stadium.
But Ferguson's men, who beat Sunderland thanks to Wayne Rooney's 20th-minute strike, were denied in the cruellest possible circumstances as injury-time goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero gave City a 3-2 win and rendered United's result irrelevant.
"Nobody expected that," Ferguson told the BBC. "Everybody expected City to win, but they did it against 10 men for half an hour and with five extra minutes to help them. But I congratulate City on winning the league. Anybody who wins it deserves it, because it's a long haul.
"At the end of our game our players didn't actually know the results. Now, they're really disappointed, I'm glad to say. There's no other way they should be. They conducted themselves brilliantly today.
"Their performance level was good. I'm pleased at our performance this season. Eighty-nine points would win most leagues. It wasn't our turn today."
Ferguson felt it was a harsh way to hand over the league title they won last year, but acknowledged he has had many happy memories on the final day of a league season.
"It's a cruel way [to lose the title] but we've experienced many ups and downs in the 25 years I've been here - most of them are great moments," Ferguson said on Sky Sports. "We've won the league title three times on the last day and today we nearly did it."