Kolo Toure believes his Manchester City teammates will be stronger for losing the English Premier League title, even though he will not be part of their challenge to reclaim it.
City play West Ham today - their first match since losing the title. And Toure, who will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season, said important lessons had been learned.
"This club has great players and fans, but when you play against a team like United, it is hard. They have been more consistent than us and we have to learn from that," the Ivory Coast defender said.
"We need to know that to be champions doesn't mean winning it once. You need the right mentality every season, and we have learned that. You can't sleep once you have won something. You then need to go out and do even better.
"This season was tough because the club hadn't won the league for a long time. Everyone was so happy when we won the league that we forgot about the next season.
"We lost a little bit of our quality and a little bit of our concentration, and that cost us. But the guys will get back on that, definitely," he said.
Toure, who was signed for City from Arsenal by Mark Hughes in 2009, said he would leave the club with a heavy heart as he sought a fresh challenge after not being offered a new deal.
"I am going to be sad to leave," the 32-year-old said. "The fans here have been great with me and the manager who brought me here was great with me. But the last two years [under Hughes' successor Roberto Mancini] have been really tough for me.
Meanwhile, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce says his side could finish as high as eighth if they can continue their unbeaten run.
"It's an ambitious eighth. I said from the start that our goal was to try and finish mid-table: 10th the very highest would be great," he said. "We're there with four to go, and I don't think we've been lower than 12th all season.
"Like every team, in some period of time you go some time with only one win, but that happens to everyone in that area of the Premier League."