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Man United and Chelsea seal Champions League spot as Tottenham and Leicester clinch Europa spot

Manchester United and Chelsea have sealed spots in next season’s Champions League, after the two clubs won their final matches of the season to confirm their places in the top four.

With Sunday’s results, United and Chelsea will join title-winners Liverpool and second-place Manchester City in the Champions League next season, with the Red Devils sealing their return to the competition after finishing sixth last season.

Meanwhile, Leicester City and Tottenham are headed to the Europa League after their results on Sunday, with Wolves left waiting for the result of the FA Cup final, which will determine their European fate.

United confirmed a top-four finish thanks to a 2-0 win over Leicester, scoring twice in the second half following a tense first 45 minutes.

The game’s pivotal moment came in the 70th minute when Bruno Fernandes fired past Kasper Schmeichel from the spot after Jonny Evans fouled Anthony Martial inside the box. Jesse Lingard then selaed the victory in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

Fernandes’ goal doomed Leicester to a fifth-place finish, with the Foxes needing all three points against the Red Devils.

Leicester’s recent results saw the Foxes fall all the way from second to fifth, after the club remained in the top four from September 21 to July 22 before failing to return on the final day of the Premier League season. 

Chelsea, meanwhile booked their Champions League spot with a 2-0 win over Wolves, with the Blues going into Sunday knowing that even a point would be enough to seal their spot in Europe’s top competition.

The Blues all but confirmed their top-four finish with a two-goal flurry just before half-time, with Mason Mount’s stunning free-kick giving Chelsea the lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time.

Just three minutes later, their lead was doubled, with Olivier Giroud adding the Blues’ second while severely damaging Wolves’ hopes on the day.

With Wolves’ loss, Tottenham were able to push their way into a sixth-place finish thanks to a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

Spurs originally took the lead in the 13th minute thanks to a finish for Harry Kane, but Palace were able to fire back in the 53rd minute through Jeffrey Schlupp.

As a result, Spurs moved into sixth to book an automatic spot in the Europa League, while Wolves will need Chelsea to beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final this weekend for their seventh-place finish to be enough.

And so the Spurs collective have to take this qualification for the success that it is. Success for the club in comparison to an even lower finish and success for Mourinho because it is indisputable that he rescued Tottenham’s season.

They were wretched in the final months before he arrived and they have often been wretched since, but it is a brand of wretchedness that has secured results and sixth place. 

That is what Daniel Levy paid for and it is what he is getting – five wins, three draws, one defeat since the restart alone and there seems to be no great stress that some of it has been so boring on the eye. No pictures on scorecards; no bonus for style.

This was that kind of performance. Again. Lifeless, flat, limited and, at times, at the mercy of Crystal Palace, a team on a run of seven straight defeats, whose best player wants to leave and whose defence is held together by string. 

Spurs led through Harry Kane – seven goals since the resumption for him, 18 in the league across the season – and then they gave up an equaliser to Jeffrey Schlupp and several other solid chances. It was the first goal Palace have scored against Tottenham in 12 hours and 23 minutes.

Had Wolves drawn at Chelsea, then Spurs would have finished seventh and at risk of dropping out of Europe altogether if Arsenal win the FA Cup final. 

Instead they have their lowest league finish in six years and strangely it has to rank as an achievement because when Mauricio Pochettino left they were 14th. Odd times, indeed. 

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