Belfast Telegraph

Finishing second not ideal but it fills Jose with belief

West Ham 0-0 Manchester United

By Mark Mann-Bryans

West Ham and Manchester United played out a dull goalless draw at the London Stadium - although the result was enough to see Jose Mourinho's side secure second place in the Premier League.

Luke Shaw had a strike turned onto the post in the first half in a game bereft of quality.

The point means United will finish as best of the rest behind champions Manchester City while David Moyes' Hammers move within two points of the top half with a game remaining.

The away supporters paid near-constant tributes to former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, the 76-year-old now out of intensive care having had an operation on a brain haemorrhage.

Hammers boss and former United chief Moyes said after the game: "We were all shocked and saddened to hear of the news about Sir Alex. We would like to send our best wishes to Sir Alex and his family.

"We're all thinking about them, just as the rest of the football world is. We are behind him and praying for a full recovery."

Mourinho's men were again below par just over a week before their FA Cup final with Chelsea.

The game seemed to be petering out before Paul Pogba's foul on West Ham skipper Mark Noble led to a fracas.

Both players grabbed hold of one another but it was Noble who was arguably the luckier of the pair to only be cautioned following his angry reaction.

Mourinho was happy his side bagged the runner-up spot.

"We are the second best team in the Premier League, a fantastic competition with lots of good teams with six teams trying to finish first," he said.

"We came second. I am not totally happy, that is not my nature. But since the moment we felt it was impossible to finish first, we had the target to finish second and it is done.

"I am not critical of the performance at all. Against Brighton, at half-time I told the players they were going to lose and tonight at half-time I said we would win. I was wrong but we were positive.

"I had no view of the incident at the end, it was all good. Now we have the objective to finish with more than 80 points. It is normal that Michael Carrick will be captain at Old Trafford for the last game of his career."

United midfielder Scott McTominay said: "It was a big point, it was our objective to finish second but we are disappointed not to take three points.

"For me it was a positive night, me and Luke Shaw had the opportunity to play and impress.

"It's every boy's dream to play in a Cup final so we will see."

Defender Chris Smalling added: "It's job done, we knew that second place was ours for the taking. We have played three at the back a few times this season and we can play both formations. It's good to have up our sleeve. If we finish second and win a trophy it will leave us with a good feeling."

Mourinho reacted to Friday's 1-0 defeat at Brighton by making eight changes, introducing a back three and utilising fit-again Alexis Sanchez as his main striker.

West Ham's Marko Arnautovic hit an early strike straight at David De Gea before the Austria international headed over from six yards.

United's first decent chance came at the midway point of the first half and fell the way of McTominay - but he arrowed wide.

Jesse Lingard forced Adrian into his first save moments later.

The visitors started to take control, Sanchez drawing another stop from Adrian before the West Ham stopper turned Shaw's follow-up strike onto the post.

West Ham reacted, Aaron Cresswell firing wide before Joao Mario turned an Arnautovic cross behind from six yards.

Adrian was again on hand to keep out Lingard's strike.

Pogba headed wide as the second half wore on without any real drama, Moyes turning to Andy Carroll with 25 minutes remaining after the pair buried the hatchet following a falling out after the defeat to Manchester City.

Mourinho turned to Rashford, but in the end both settled for a point.

West Ham: Adrian, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Masuaku (Carroll 66), Joao Mario, Lanzini, Arnautovic. Subs not used: Hugill, Obiang, Hart, Evra, Fernandes, Cullen.

Booked: Noble.

Man Utd: De Gea, Valencia (Bailly 90), Lindelof, Smalling, Jones, Shaw, McTominay, Ander Herrera, Pogba, Lingard (Rashford 74), Sanchez (Young 90). Subs not used: Mata,Martial,Blind,Romero.

Booked: Pogba.

Attendance: 56,902

Referee: Jonathan Moss (County Durham).

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph