Manchester City’s first Premier League title win in 2011/2012 will forever go down in history as one of the most dramatic finish to a season English football has ever seen.
Roberto Mancini’s men were top on goal difference going into their final game of the season against QPR at home and knew that all they needed to do was match Man United’s result against Sunderland to secure their first ever Premier League crown.
What followed was arguably the most incredible final day in the competition’s history as despite being 2-1 down going into stoppage time, goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero handed them victory in the most dramatic of fashions.
City’s rivals and nearest title challengers Manchester United had already finished their game against Sunderland winning by a goal to nil before Aguero’s strike, meaning they were told that the title would be heading to the blue half of the city while they were still on the pitch at the Stadium of Light.
Antonio Valencia started the game for United and speaking in an interview with The Athletic he outlined what Sir Alex Ferguson said to the team following the game and how they used it as motivation to win the league the following season.
“I remember being in the dressing room at Sunderland, just waiting for the final whistle from City so we could celebrate. And then… yeah. But I will never, ever forget the words of the manager.
“Straight away, he sat us down. He said, ‘You do not forget the lesson you have learned here today, the hurt you are feeling. Now you have another season where you have to kill teams off (United had missed out on goal difference) and we will come back even stronger.’
“We won the league by a landslide, but it started right there at Sunderland. Then the post-season: players were coming back 10 days early to get them back in shape and win the league. These things do not happen by accident.”
Valencia continued by highlighting the winning mentality that the United team had when he first arrived at Old Trafford from Wigan in 2009.
“This was a team of absolute winners. I remember arriving at United and winning a game at the weekend. I thought, ‘Phew, now we can relax a little.’ Then straight away everyone was talking about winning the next game.
“There was never time to enjoy the wins. But that’s what title winners do. I’d get to training: Patrice Evra, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs were all in the gym, way before training started. I am thinking, ‘These guys have Champions League winners’ medals, they are multi-millionaires, and here they are in the gym at 7am?’
“Imagine that determination, that inner steel, that hunger. As a young player, what a lesson: these people are not only winners but they are addicted to winning.