Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has said that cross-town rivals Manchester United still “set the benchmark” in the Premier League, and that his club will have to work very hard in order to continue to succeed next season.
Mubarak's team clinched the league in the final seconds of stoppage time in their last day, with a goal from Sergio Aguero putting them atop of the league on goal difference. This ended a 44-year drought for City, but Mubarak insists that this is not enough for his club, as they need to look to achieve United's longevity as well.
"United have set the benchmark," he said. "What they have accomplished in the last 20 years is incredible. It sets the benchmark for any club in the world in terms of success. We all have the highest respect for Sir Alex, we all have the highest respect for United as a team and what they have accomplished.
"We look at teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich. What they represent to their cities, to their communities, what they've accomplished, these teams are the benchmarks."
The chairman went on to say United were unlucky to miss out on the league title last season, and that his side will have to improve in order to stay at the top.
"To get 89 points and not win the league is unbelievable," he said.
"This is the most difficult league in the world, there's no question in my mind. It's the most challenging, the most difficult league to win. For us to pick up 89 points and not win would have been criminal.
"We have to continue to fight. We have to continue to work hard and focus on the future and really try to achieve some of what Manchester United has been able to accomplish in the past.
"We always want to improve and get better and compete at all levels of competition."
Mubarak also said he expects the two clubs to dominate English football for the foreseeable future, and that the whole city of Manchester can be proud of both squads.
"It's incredible for the city of Manchester," he said. "There aren't many cities around the world who have two clubs with the strength that United and City have.
"I think there's going to be a wonderful competition between us for many years to come."