Sir Alex Ferguson team talk after Aguero moment left Paul Scholes nearly in tears

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes admitted he was left close to tears after Manchester United were beaten to the Premier League title on the final day of the 2011-12 season.

Scholes had come out of retirement midway through the campaign, helping Sir Alex Ferguson’s team remain in contention for top spot. When their final day match against Sunderland ended, United topped the as-things-stand table with rivals Manchester City still playing against Queens Park Rangers, but a stoppage-time winner from Sergio Aguero sent the title to the blue half of Manchester.

The ex-England international explained how he always considered the City game a bigger event than United’s matches against rivals Liverpool. And, while Scholes felt the emotional hit of the final day drama, manager Ferguson delivered a post-match team talk which fellow United star Rio Ferdinand has said he will “never forget”.

“I nearly cried,” Scholes told former teammate Gary Neville on Overlap Xtra. “It made it worse, because City playing QPR, we just didn’t think it would be a problem. We went to Sunderland thinking it don’t matter.

“We didn’t think we’d won the league [at full-time],” he added. “You don’t think like that, do you?” This was despite City trailing 2-1 going into stoppage time, only for Edin Dzeko and then Aguero to turn things around.

“All I knew growing up was you’re either a City fan or a United fan, so that was probably why [the City games felt bigger],” Scholes explained when pressed on the matter by Neville. ” Liverpool was a big game but City was always the one for me.”

Will the 2011-12 final day drama ever be matched? Have your say in the comments section

Man Utd's final day win against Sunderland wasn't enough

Man Utd’s final day win against Sunderland wasn’t enough

Ferdinand, like Scholes, played the full 90 minutes against Sunderland and left the field hoping – if not feeling with certainty – that his team would lift the trophy. Speaking on William Hill’s Stripped Podcast, he described the end of game as “one of the maddest moments,”

“We do our part and win against Sunderland, and the game finishes,” Ferdinand said. Normally when a game finishes, everyone’s game has finished, and we go ‘what was the score?’ And at that point we think we’ve got it, we’ve won the title.

“And then, all of a sudden, the Sunderland fans start cheering, the news comes round and they’re all cheering. And in that moment, it was like… boy, I wouldn’t give that feeling to anyone. Taking something you’ve given like a year’s worth of work to and all the intensity that goes with it… You know what the feeling is like when you win it, it’s there in your hands and then it just falls through.

Man Utd had looked on course for the title when their game finished

Man Utd had looked on course for the title when their game finished

“And I’ll never forget Sir Alex Ferguson’s team talk after we went in,” Ferdinand continued. “The room is quiet except for a few people swearing and kicking things.

” Then we’re sitting down with the manager, and he goes, ‘you experienced ones, you’ll get through this, but all you young ones (going around naming them), all of you remember this moment and remember their fans, the Sunderland fans who’ve got nothing to play for here. They’re sitting there and laughing at you and cheering.’ And that was it, ‘go and enjoy your summer’.

“You’d be running in pre-season, on holiday in pre-season, and all you are thinking about is ramming that back down Manchester City’s throat. We won the league the next year, so it was a mad moment.”

Ferdinand and Scholes also played their part in 2012-13, when the arrival of striker Robin van Persie set United up for a title charge. After missing out on goal difference in 2012, they finished 11 points clear at the top 12 months later, allowing both Scholes and Ferguson to retire as Premier League champions.

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