Paul Scholes has admitted Manchester City were the better team last season - but believes Shinji Kagawa will make a difference.
Manchester United were denied the Premier League title by their rivals when Roberto Mancini's men scored twice in injury-time on the last day to win in dramatic fashion.
More than two months on, Scholes is magnanimous about City's triumph despite the personal disappointment he suffered and is hoping it will act as motivation for United this season.
"You always say the best team wins the league and City were the best team last year," said the 37-year-old midfielder, who came out of retirement in January.
"The football they played for the most of the season was fantastic. As much as I don't want to admit it, they were good to watch and probably played the best football.
"So from that aspect, they were the best team and deserved to win it. They have raised the bar and it's up to us to now kick on and do even better than they did.
"It's always a motivating factor when you lose the league and perhaps we will be motivated even more after what happened.
"It isn't nice when you see another team winning the title on the last day of the season. You have that picture in your head of them celebrating and you don't want it to happen again.
"I still don't really understand what happened.
"We should have won the league and we didn't. In the end, we failed. To be in the position we were - eight points clear with six games to go - well, it's not like us."
Sir Alex Ferguson hasn't overhauled the United squad in the wake of title disappointment but Japan international Kagawa has arrived from Borussia Dortmund.
And Scholes is full of praise for the 23-year-old after seeing him close up on the club's tour of Asia.
"He looks brilliant. I've only been in training with him for a couple of weeks but he's very good technically and you can see the talent he's got already," added Scholes in the Sunday People.
"He's had a couple of great years at Dortmund and I think he has been player of the year in Germany - that tells you he's a top player.
"He will bring goals to the team, whether he's scoring them or making them. He's got great movement and is very clever in the runs he makes.
"It's difficult to say which foot is his best. He's equal with right and left. He's a good lad. He doesn't speak much English yet, but I am sure he will be very popular here."