Fergie thought Man Utd were outstanding at start of infamous 6-1 City defeat

Sir Alex Ferguson reckoned his Manchester United side "dominated" the early stages of their infamous 6-1 defeat to Manchester City in 2011, insisting after the game that his boys were "outstanding".

The defeat, which was Ferguson's joint-worst as Red Devils boss, signalled the beginning of the end of United's dominance in the Manchester derby, with the 'noisy neighbours' going on to seal a domestic double over their rivals en route to landing their first Premier League title.

Speaking to Sky Sports in his post-match interview, a crestfallen Ferguson said: "You can't believe that scoreline if you look at the first 30 minutes of the game. We were absolutely outstanding. We dominated the game."

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The match is perhaps best remembered for Mario Balotelli unveiling his iconic 'why always me?' shirt after netting the opener as well as David Silva's masterful volleyed assist for Edin Dzeko's 93rd-minute sucker-punch.

It was the first genuine shot across the bows of the footballing establishment City had produced since becoming the world's wealthiest club three years prior, with Silva and Sergio Aguero also getting on the scoresheet at Old Trafford.

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After the game Ferguson slammed his players for failing to shut up shop once the points were lost and bemoaned the fact the result had produced a 10-goal swing in terms of goal difference – a swing that effectively cost United the title with both sides ending the season level on points, and eight goals between them.

United wrestled the title back a year later, though they've spent the last nine years enviously glancing through their neighbours' window watching them add trophy after trophy to their now bulging cabinet.

On Sunday, Erik ten Hag's side travel to the Etihad knowing that a win will give them the chance to go above City in the league – an almost alien concept to United these days.

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