Crystal Palace 1, Manchester United 0
Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag now knows full well the scale of the job he has at United after the Reds had to rely on a favour from Brighton to avoid the ignominy of the Europa Conference League next season.Embed from Getty Images
The Reds finished sixth after a 1-0 defeat at Selhurst Park to a 37th minute strike by their ex-winger Wilfried Zaha.
The Eagles might have scored more before Zaha finally netted what turned out to be the winner against a United side which didn’t contain Cristiano Ronaldo (thanks to a hip injury).
And for a brief time during the game it looked as though United would be finishing seventh after Michail Antonio had put David Moyes’ West Ham into the lead three minutes after Zaha’s goal.
But second half goals by Joel Veltman, Pascal Gross, and Danny Welbeck did the Reds a favour.
At the end of their worst ever Premier League campaign – an utterly forgettable one which they have finished with a zero goal difference – outgoing United manager Ralf Rangnick, who will revert to a part-time consultancy role from this summer, summed up another dismal result for United.
He said: “The team tried but the level of performance was not the one that we needed to win this game.
“We had opportunies to score but we didn’t and we had a lot of unforced errors.
“We weren’t good enough to earn any points and were fortunate that Brighton did us a favour to allow us to finish in the top 6.
He did suggest that by working together on revamping the United squad, that he and ten Hag – who was at Selhurst Park but didn’t get with him – could work together to upgrade United’s squad.
“We haven’t been able to speak in person – I’m looking forward to it and I’m optimistic and positive that we can strengthen the squad together.
Tunisian attacker Hannibal Mejbri started the game and was one of United’s brighter players while Shola Shoretire and Alejandro Garnacho were handed second half cameos but United will need to replace a host of outgoing players such as Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, and Paul Pogba to even consider a top four challenge next term.