Monday 14 May 2012
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini paid tribute to the club's supporters and players after their astonishing Barclays Premier League title triumph.
City won the Premier League for the first time - their first English title since 1967/68 - on an afternoon of remarkable drama at the Etihad Stadium.
"We did it the hard way - but I am told that is the City way"
- Roberto Mancini
Mancini's team beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 thanks to two goals in injury time at the end of the match to pip Manchester United to top spot on goal difference.
Sergio Aguero's 94th-minute winner sent the Etihad into delirium and sparked jubilant scenes in the blue half of Manchester, and Mancini could not hide his delight after the final whistle.
"This is a great day for City and most of all for the supporters," said Mancini on the club's official website. "It has been 44 years since this club last had their hands on the title and everyone at City knows that is too long.
"We did it the hard way - but I am told that is the City way.
"The supporters have never lost faith or patience - even in the last five minutes today - and we are so pleased that this season, we have delivered some history for them.
"Our form at the Etihad has been fantastic this season with 18 victories and only one draw and that is great credit to the supporters.
"Every week the ground is full and the noise for the team is huge. I have said many times this season that no-one should underestimate the help that players get from having a crowd supporting them in this way. It drives us on when things are possible not going so well.
"Manchester United is a great club and a great opponent"
- Roberto Mancini
"I am so proud of the players too. They fought hard all season and now can see the rewards. Hopefully this will be just the start of days like this. We set out to make history and that is what we have done."
Mancini also praised Man Utd, who narrowly missed out on winning their 13th Premier Legaue title.
"Manchester United is a great club and a great opponent and to have come out on top in a fight for the title with them is fantastic," he added.
"We have been strong in our legs and in our minds. Sometimes you learn things in defeat and I saw something special in the 3-2 FA Cup defeat by Man Utd in January.
"The players kept their feet on the ground and worked so hard all season and in these last weeks."
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that the last-gasp manner of City's victory made it especially hard on his players, who only found out what had happened after their 1-0 win at Sunderland.
But the Scot reserved special praise for United's local rivals and said the Premier League remains the hardest League in the world to win.
"It's the hardest League in the world and anyone that wins it deserves it"
- Sir Alex Ferguson
"I would like to say on behalf of Manchester United, congratulations to our neighbours," said Ferguson. "It is a fantastic achievement to win the Premier League, it's not easy to win, it's the hardest League in the world and anyone that wins it deserves it.
"We knew there were five minutes of injury time being played there, one of our assistant referees informed us. Our game only had three minutes so for two minutes [after the final whistle] we didn't know that was happening. Of course, they got the break and won the game.
"It was a cruel way but we've experienced many ups and downs in the 25 years that I've been here and most of them have been great moments.
"We have won the League three times in the last five seasons and we nearly did it again today.
"They are only young players, they've experienced what has happened today and they'll be around in five, six, seven or 10 years time for Manchester United. The experience is good for them, even if it is a bad one."