Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is confident his young players will be stronger for this season's campaign.

For Phil Jones, Smalling, David de Gea and Ashley Young, losing out on the title at the death may not have been in the script, but ­Ferguson has no fears about the effect on them.

He said: "I'd hope these ­players in their first year will think there will be trophies for them here, that things are not so black.

"At the start of the season I'd have taken going into the last game with a chance of the title, but the odds are stacked against us now.

"It's all important to focus on the game and not the occasion."