Mourinho: United and Fergie made for winning

Manchester United's Premier League title triumph and the winning mentality of evergreen manager Sir Alex Ferguson were widely praised across the game on Tuesday, with England boss Roy Hodgson labelling him a "magician".

United clinched their 20th league title on Monday after Robin van Persie's hat-trick sealed a 3-0 win over Aston Villa, giving Ferguson the 49th trophy in his long managerial career.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who challenged United's domestic dominance by winning two titles with Chelsea between 2004-07, hailed Ferguson on the eve of Real's Champions League semi-final first leg at Borussia Dortmund.

"What he did is what he has been doing all his life, winning," Portuguese Mourinho told reporters. "Sometimes not consecutively because it is impossible to do it.

"That's his life and his career. I congratulate him, it is not a surprise to me or to the world that Sir Alex and Manchester United won the title again."

Real eliminated United in the Champions League last 16 when Mourinho, long linked in the media with one day replacing the 71-year-old Ferguson, showed his admiration for the English side by saying the best team had lost.

Hodgson, whose England side rely on United players such as Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, was in awe at the way United had recovered from losing last term's title in the final kick on goal difference to Manchester City.

"If we're talking about magic in football, the only magicians I know are people like Sir Alex. There's not so much you can say other than we'd all like to know how he does it. We'd all like to know what the secret is," Hodgson told reporters at England's St George's Park base.

"Year after year he keeps producing incredible performances from his teams and his players, and keeps being able to rebuild sides from the ashes of the previous team.

"It's a particular bonus when I go to watch matches because when I go to see United play, there's a good chance I'll see a number of English players, which unfortunately isn't always the case when I watch matches."

United great Bobby Charlton reckoned the current side was one of their best.

"It was impossible for anyone to follow us, we were right on song. This is maybe one of the best squads of players that we have had," he said.

"The players are from all sorts of different countries but, somehow or other, Alex seems to be able to gel them together for the important matches."