Manchester United vs Chelsea. Premier League.
Report and free match highlights as Manchester United secured Champions League qualification with a 4-1 win over Chelsea. Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford scored the goals for Erik ten Hag's side
Friday 26 May 2023 12:01, UK
Manchester United moved up to third and confirmed their place in next season’s Champions League with a 4-1 win over Chelsea as Erik ten Hag urged the club to bring in "better players" to help mount a title challenge next season.
Casemiro headed in Christian Eriksen's free-kick early in the game and Anthony Martial added a second from close range in first-half stoppage time. In between, Frank Lampard's side squandered a series of excellent chances and their wastefulness was costly.
Bruno Fernandes won and scored a penalty before Wesley Fofana, the man who had conceded the spot-kick, proceeded to gift the Portugal midfielder the ball for the fourth, allowing him to set up substitute Marcus Rashford. It was wretched from Chelsea.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Wan-Bissaka (7), Varane (7), Lindelof (7), Shaw (6), Casemiro (9), Eriksen (7), Antony (6), Fernandes (8), Sancho (7), Martial (7).
Subs: Rashford (7), Malacia (6), Fred (6), Garnacho (7), McTominay (n/a).
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (5), Azpilicueta (5), Fofana (2), Chalobah (5), Hall (7), Gallagher (5), Fernandez (5), Chukwuemeka (6), Madueke (6), Havertz (5), Mudryk (5).
Subs: Joao Felix (7), Pulisic (5), Loftus-Cheek (n/a), Ziyech (n/a), D Fofana (n/a).
Player of the match: Casemiro.
It is one win in 13 games for them now - 10 of them under Lampard. This was the youngest Blues line-up in Premier League history. Neither that nor Joao Felix's late goal provide much consolation. Where they lacked conviction, Casemiro and the rest were decisive.
The only disappointment for United, who move above Newcastle, was a troubling injury to Antony. But it was an otherwise good night for Erik ten Hag's team. They needed one point to end Liverpool's hopes of catching them. They won all three in style.
It hinted at being a different game early on, Mykhailo Mudryk spurning the first opening of the game, measuring his shot well wide of the far post after fine play by Lewis Hall. Chelsea paid for their profligacy when Casemiro beat Fofana to the jump at the other end.
The injury to Antony, on the receiving end of a robust challenge from Trevor Chalobah, may scupper his involvement in the FA Cup final. But here it only led to the introduction of the fit-again Rashford - and the stoppage time from which United made it two.
“I don’t know. Everyone has seen he came off. I can tell you that it is serious but we have to wait minimum 24 hours and then we know probably more about the status of his injury.”
It was Casemiro who was the difference in that move. Kai Havertz and Conor Gallagher had both missed good chances but Martial could not miss when set up by Jadon Sancho, himself the recipient of a delightful no-look pass by the brilliant Brazilian midfielder.
Erik ten Hag named an unchanged Manchester United line-up after beating Bournemouth but Marcus Rashford was fit enough to return to the bench.
Frank Lampard made three changes to the Chelsea team that lost at Man City. In came Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Carney Chukwuemeka. Out went Thiago Silva, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Raheem Sterling.
Chelsea continued to push in the second half but it was all so loose and left them vulnerable. Fernandes hit the crossbar and then won a penalty when tripped by Fofana. He converted it himself and with any pressure off it was party time at Old Trafford.
The hapless Fofana was their accomplice. His poor pass invited the fourth, Rashford even skipping past him again before beating Kepa Arrizabalaga at the second attempt. Fellow substitute Alejandro Garnacho was denied the fifth by the crossbar. It was carnage.
The story of Chelsea's season, perhaps. Glimpses of individual quality - underlined by Joao Felix's late strike - but ultimately humiliating and lacking any kind of cohesion. Ten Hag and his team will hope that the best moments of their season are still ahead.
|Goals||Casemiro, Martial, Fernandes, Rashford, Joao Felix|
|Assists||Eriksen, Sancho, Ziyech|
|Bonus points||Hall (3), Sancho (2), Martial (1)|
"This club belongs in the Champions League," Ten Hag told Sky Sports. "But it is not easy in the Premier League, it is tough. A lot compete for those positions - seven or eight teams. It is a massive performance when you get this done.
"We showed a winning attitude. You can see Chelsea has outstanding players. Counter-attacks were really good, really dangerous. We should have scored more. It is important to stay in the rhythm on Sunday. We can be third, so we want to keep the focus.
"We are in the right direction but we know we are still not there. We are back in the Champions League. That is an important step. If you want to be successful you have to be in that competition."
Speaking in the press conference afterwards, Ten Hag stressed the next step is not just about further improvement on the training ground but will also be partially dependent on what United are able to do in the summer transfer window.
He said: "It is a good base to build on but standards have to go up and demands have to rise. We have to work in the summer with this squad but we also have to strengthen in the window with this squad.
"We want to compete for the title but it has to be realistic. It is what is there. Now, we are far away so there is a lot of work to do but we need better players if want to compete for the highest."
"You've got Champions League football, won the League Cup, with the FA Cup final to go. If you had said that to Erik ten Hag at the start of the year - they have answered a lot of questions," Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports.
"There has been a few moments. The loss to Liverpool. But all in all it has been a positive season. I see a manager who is in control of this football club. You can trust him, he will get players in. There is no reason why they cannot bridge that gap.
"Are they ready to take on Manchester City right now? I don't think so. But in a one-off cup final it is possible. It won't be easy."
"It is a sign of where we are at," Lampard told Sky Sports. "You can go back to the start of the season. We don't score goals enough. It's clear, I get asked a lot why we play at back five at times. Some of the defending in the second half showed why we play a back five.
"I am disappointed with that. You have to have pride and passion every time you play for this club. There are certain technical details you have to work on daily, to do all those standard things. Standards isn't a casual statement.
"Any team that wins or consistently gets results in the Premier League has standards as a base. Without them the tactics do not matter. Training well every day, trying to improve, being a collective unit. There are variables - we have a big squad. It's been hard for the coaches. I've lived that.
"It is a bad year for the club. We've had massive success over the past 20 years. We have to get to the bottom of how it improves. It needs a reboot. The club will move on in the summer in terms of how the squad looks."
The final day of the Premier League season is on Sunday May 28 with every game kicking off at 4.30pm. Free match highlights will be published across Sky Sports' digital platforms shortly after full-time.
Manchester United end their first league season under Erik ten Hag with a home game against Fulham. United then take on Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley on June 3.
Frank Lampard's final game as Chelsea caretaker manager will see them welcome Newcastle to Stamford Bridge.