Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has congratulated Manchester City on pipping them to the Premier League title on goal difference.
But the Scot also warned that United would come back stronger when they try to overhaul their rivals next season.
"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 would have won the title with scores as they were at 90 minutes. They had
beaten Sunderland 1-0
and City were
trailing QPR 2-1.
Near miss for Man Utd
Manchester United's 89 points is the highest for the runners-up in 20 seasons of the Premier League.
Only Man Utd
(93/94 - 92 pts)
, Man Utd
(99/00 - 91 pts)
(03/04 - 90 pts)
(04/05 - 95 pts),
(05/06 - 91 pts)
, Man Utd
(08/09 - 90 pts)
have beaten United's points tally for this season.
But City scored twice in injury time to finish ahead of United and claim their first title since 1968.
Ferguson said: "They [City] can go on as much as they like. That's what you would expect, but the history of our club stands us aside.
"We don't need to worry about that. I think we have a rich history, better than anyone, and it will take them a century to get to our level of history.
"But for us it's still a challenge and we're good at challenges. We'll kick on from here.
"The players are very disappointed. There's no other way they should be. They conducted themselves brilliantly [against Sunderland], played really good football and, but for the Sunderland keeper, it could have been six or seven.
"So the performance level was good considering the pressure they were under. They never showed that at all and the temperament was terrific.
"And I'm pleased with their performance this season. With 89 points, it would have been good enough to win most leagues."
In the previous 19 seasons, only six Premier League-winning teams beat United's points tally.
Ferguson insisted there was "no doubt" he was relishing the challenge provided by City and that his squad would learn from the disappointment of losing out on the title.
"Experiences of a good type enthuse people but, when they have a bad one, it brings a sense of determination in you," Ferguson said.
"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.
"It [losing 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."