Sam Allardyce has told Manchester City they will always struggle to catch up with Manchester United so long as the man he calls "The Master" is in charge at Old Trafford.
City host West Ham on Saturday in the first game since Roberto Mancini's men lost their status as Barclays Premier League champions. The Red Devils wrapped up their 20th title with four games to spare on Monday when they beat Aston Villa 3-0.
"You're always chasing the master and he has been the master for so long - it is difficult to sustain success against him," Allardyce told a press conference.
Despite yet more investment in the squad last summer, City have, for the majority of the season, looked a pale imitation of the side which clinched the title in such a dramatic fashion last season, and Allardyce thinks the main reason behind City's failure to stop their biggest rivals from bouncing back is the nous of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson, one of Allardyce's closest friends in management, has suffered setbacks before and the West Ham boss thinks that there is little sign of the 71-year-old's dominance of the English game ending soon.
Allardyce added: "Whenever he has a challenge, he may lose out once, but he comes back with flying colours. He's had it with Chelsea and before that Arsenal."
City will, no doubt, respond to losing their crown by trying to land a number of big stars this summer, and one of the most surprising names reported to be on the radar is West Ham forward Ravel Morrison.
Morrison swapped Manchester United for Upton Park one year ago but he struggled to break in to the first team and was shipped out on loan to npower Championship side Birmingham.
Allardyce plans to hold talks with the 20-year-old, who was fined £7,000 for a homophobic tweet in February last year, when he returns from his loan spell in the summer, saying: "We will discuss it when the season is over."