Manchester United risk missing out on a Champions League place for next season after suffering a disappointing away defeat to Newcastle on Sunday. The Red Devils were demoted to fourth on the Premier League table with the latter securing three important points through to a dominant 2-0 win at the St James' Park.
In what was one of the defining moments of the Premier League top four race, Erik ten Hag's men failed to make a genuine claim for the points available. Needless to say, Newcastle were evidently the better side throughout, and while they came up empty through the first half, they were able to find the breakthrough inside the first 15 minutes of the second half, before doubling their lead in the dying minutes. A momentarily lapse in defence gave Joe Willock the opportunity to break the deadlock before Callum Wilson sealed the win after coming on from the bench.
Newcastle's win against Manchester United elevated them to third place on goal differential, offering a significant boost in their quest to qualify for European play. It is worth noting that the Magpies have not finished above the Red Devils since since 1977.
In contrast, Manchester United squandered an opportunity to secure their position and are now in a precarious situation, teetering on the edge of dropping out of the top four. Should Tottenham Hotspur avoid defeat Everton on Monday, they will force the Old Trafford outfit out of the top four momentarily.
With two games in hand, United will hope to bounce back as soon as possible with the season approaching its end. Speaking after the conclusion of the game, manager Erik ten Hag was critical of his side for their performance. "Today the best team won, I hate to say it," he said.
"It hurts me to say that the other team had more passion and desire."
"After we went into the attacking zones, we created nothing."
"They wanted to win more than we did."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 2, 2023
Erik ten Hag admits that the better team won pic.twitter.com/qats9hPiQ0