Man United secure Champions League spot with 4-1 rout

·3-min read

Manchester United have secured a return to the Champions League with a 4-1 win over Chelsea.

Goals from Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford on Thursday ensured a victory that means a Premier League top-four finish is now certain in Erik ten Hag's first year at the club.

United moved up to third and two points above Newcastle going into the final game of the season.

United needed a point from their final two games to secure qualification to the Champions League and went ahead in the sixth minute when Casemiro headed in Christian Eriksen's free kick.

Mykhaylo Mudryk should have put Chelsea ahead before that, but the $108-million signing completely misfired with only goalkeeper David de Gea to beat.

Martial doubled United's lead in first-half stoppage time to put the home team in control going into the break.

Fernandes added a third from the penalty spot in the 73rd after being brought down by Wesley Fofana.

It got worse for Fofana and Chelsea when the defender's misplaced pass was seized on and substitute Rashford added a fourth five minutes later.

Another substitute Alejandro Garnacho hit the bar late on as United went in search of another.

Chelsea substitute Joao Felix scored a consolation in the 89th, but it was another miserable night for the Londoners, who have now lost eight of their 10 games under interim manager Frank Lampard.

One concern for United was a first-half injury to Antony, who looked in distress as he left the field on a stretcher.

When asked after the game about United's season, skipper Fernandes told Sky Sports: "It's decent.

"It's not perfect because we want more. But for what we did this season, I think it's great. One trophy, we got the top four - that was our goal after we couldn't go for the Premier League.

"Now it's about finishing the league well and going to the FA Cup (final) and winning."

Fernandes was asked about potentially ending Manchester City's treble bid in the FA Cup final, and replied: "No - it's about winning the trophy for us.

"Obviously we have to take the trophy away from someone if we want to win it. But we're focusing on ourselves and winning our games, and we want to win the FA Cup.

On their return to the Champions League, Ten Hag said: "It's important - this club belongs in the Champions League.

"It's not easy in the Premier League, it's a tough competition, a lot compete for the position, seven, eight clubs. So it's a massive performance when you get this done."

The Dutchman also said it was "difficult to say" in terms of an early assessment of injuries to Antony and Luke Shaw, and spoke about Rashford having a year left on his contract.

"We are working on that and I have a good feeling about that - Marcus wants to stay, we want him to stay," Ten Hag said.

The win heaped more misery on Chelsea and Lampard, who said the London club needed a "reboot".

"It's a bad year for the club, and many clubs have these kind of years, when we've had massive success for the last 20 years. The important thing is you get to the bottom of how it improves," said Lampard.

"It needs a reboot and the club will move on in the summer in terms of what the squad looks like and those things."

with PA