Jose Mourinho congratulated Manchester City on winning the Premier League despite his United side putting their celebrations on ice with a stunning win at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Paul Pogba scored twice as Manchester United produced a pulsating second-half fightback, preventing City from sealing the title with six games remaining.
Vincent Kompany's powerful header had earlier broken the deadlock and Ilkay Gundogan doubled the home side's lead five minutes later before Pogba's double pulled United level.
Chris Smalling then volleyed home the winner in the 69th minute, handing City a second straight defeat following their 3-0 Champions League reverse at Liverpool on Wednesday.
City could win the title next weekend but would need to beat Tottenham on Saturday and then hope Manchester United lose at home to West Brom the following day.
While Mourinho hopes that it does not pan out that way, he knows it is only a matter of time before their local rivals claim the prize their stunning form this season deserves.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Man of the Match on derby day... April 7, 2018
He told Sky Sports: "Our challenge is to finish second, but I want to congratulate City for the title because they are going to win and deservedly.
"They gave no chance to the others because they had this season of non-stop winning.
"My objective here was to get points and not spoil any celebrations. The point is can we improve enough to catch them next season?"
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