MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Antonio Valencia of Manchester United runs with the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on January 14, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Just a day after Sunday's heartbreak, Manchester United held their annual Player of the Year Awards dinner and there was one big winner from the event -- Antonio Valencia. The outstanding right-winner won the following three awards: Sir Matt Busby Fans' Player of the year, Players' Player of the Year, and Goal of the season. In 38 appearances this seasons in all competitions, he scored 6 goals and assisted on 15. Here was Antonio's response on stage after receiving his awards:
"I am very happy to receive all three awards. After last night, the longest night of my life, I will take heart from this. There should be 20 of these awards because all of my team-mates deserve one. I'd like to thank them and to thank my fans at home in Ecuador and Manchester United fans everywhere."
- Valencia | Source: MUTV
There were two other award winners from the night as well: defender Michael Keane was named the Reserves Player of the Year while Mats Daehli won the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award.
Here was Keane's response:
"I was surprised but really pleased to win the award. It's great to know that it's been voted for by the fans, because they come to watch us and follow us throughout the season. Now I hope to go on the pre-season tour with the first team and if that goes well, then I might go on loan or stay here. It will be up to Sir Alex of course."
Here was Daehli's response:
"I'm very proud and the season went very well for us, particularly in the Youth Cup. Everyone here has taken great care of me, I've settled in well and hopefully that will continue. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer [Daehli is also Norwegian] is a huge inspiration to me and it's great I can call him whenever I want."
Overall, the evening was an uplifting one and it was welcoming after Sunday's shocking events. Club legends like Sir Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson were around and manager Sir Alex Ferguson seemed to be in great spirits -- it's also possible spirits contributed to his spirited mood. News even came about that Paul Scholes will return for another season.
Over the upcoming week or two, we will have you -- our community members -- vote on TBB's season-ending awards as well. The categories will be Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season, position-by-position reviews and a vote for each position's standout player, Goal of the Season, Match of the Season, and perhaps Best Moment of the Season. Be sure to check in with us so that you can cast your vote and offer up your thoughts.