English Premier League: United seek positive home send-off

Red Devils to play for pride when they host Hull City


Afp May 05, 2014
DESPONDENT: A seventh-place finish will mean United, who end their campaign at Southampton on Sunday, will miss out on European football next season for the first time since 1990. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: After the seventh home defeat of a wretched Premier League campaign against Sunderland on Saturday, Manchester United will be desperate to make amends when they host Hull City on Tuesday.

United last lost seven times at home in the 1973-74 season, when they were relegated to the old Division Two, and their 1-0 loss to Sunderland also appears to have ended their chances of sneaking into the Europa League.

Sixth-place Tottenham Hotspur currently occupy the final Europa League berth and need only a point from their final home game against Aston Villa to secure their place in next season's competition.

With a seventh-place finish beckoning, United will be playing for pride alone when they welcome FA Cup finalists Hull to Old Trafford for their last home game of the campaign.

While the club begins to look to the future, amid reports that Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal's appointment as manager is imminent, Tuesday's game will also provide an opportunity to look to the past.

After eight years of service, captain Nemanja Vidic will play his final home game for the club before leaving to join Inter Milan.

Fellow defenders Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, both of whom are out of contract at the end of the season, may also be playing at Old Trafford for the final time.

Interim manager Ryan Giggs, meanwhile, may be tempted to name himself in the playing squad for one last hurrah, as his own playing contract is also due to expire at the end of the campaign.

Chelsea wait on trio amid title disappointment

Chelsea saw their Premier League title dream die in a 0-0 draw with Norwich City that may have represented a curtain call for three of the club's greatest players.

Following the final whistle of Sunday's game – Chelsea's last home fixture of the campaign – Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry took part in a 'lap of appreciation' at Stamford Bridge with their teammates.

All three players will be out of contract at the end of the season and there was a hint of poignancy in their waves to the crowd, while they also posed for photographs together.

The trio became Chelsea stalwarts during manager Jose Mourinho's first stint in charge, and the Portuguese responded evasively when asked if they had played their last home games for the club.

"Now is the time to wait a little bit,” he said. “The summer is a long summer, for us. For the media with the World Cup, it's a different story. For the players in the World Cup, it's a different story.

"But for the club it's a long time, to be calm and sit and discuss and analyse the options and the market and the possibilities."

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger celebrated Arsenal's Champions League qualification by making it clear there is no chance he will quit the Emirates Stadium.

"I've said many times my word is my word,” said Wenger. “I'm from a period where you didn't need a pen to commit. You will see me again.”

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