Ryan Giggs has admitted he never expected Manchester United to overhaul Liverpool's record of 18 league championships.
Just a single point from United's final two games against Blackburn and Blackpool is all they need now, following Sunday's 2-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford, to claim the 19th league title in the club's history.
It will be the 12th title of Giggs' career, having been part of all the squads that have finished top during Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, a figure that will forcibly knock the Merseysiders from their perch, as the Scot famously vowed to do when he succeeded Ron Atkinson in 1986. "Fifteen or 20 years ago, you'd never have thought it," said Giggs.
"It's a great achievement by the team and the manager to haul back our biggest rivals over the 1970s, 80s and 90s."
Only needing a draw to keep Chelsea at bay, United made the perfect start when Javier Hernandez opened their account after just 36 seconds. Skipper Nemanja Vidic nodded home the hosts second midway through the opening period and although Frank Lampard pulled one back for Chelsea, they were unable to mount an effective comeback.
The title has not been won yet, but the celebrations at the end, including Ferguson bowing to the Stretford End, left no one in any doubt it will be. "Knowing the players, they won't muck it up. They will get the point. There is no doubt about that," Ferguson said.
Derided so often this season, United have hit form at exactly the right time. "The moment we won that first one in 1993, the door opened for us," reflected Ferguson. "To be involved every year after that is an incredible achievement. We got nervous at the end because we kept missing chances.
"We should have been out of sight. But that is the nature of Manchester United. We take it to the wire all the time. We give these poor souls in the stand heart attacks. They are sitting on the edge of their seats and biting their nails. I was one of them."
As Blackburn was the ground where all hope was lost for United last season, the Red Devils can avenge that misery. They also have the memory of Rovers being the opponents on that fateful night in 1993 when they ended that 26-year wait for championship number nine.
"We will give every respect to Blackburn and Blackpool because they are local teams to us," said Ferguson. "They are great football clubs and we will make sure we don't underestimate them."
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