Leicester defender Jonny Evans does not know what the future holds following their relegation to the Championship.

The Foxes became just the second former Premier League champions to be relegated when their 2-1 win against West Ham was deemed meaningless by Everton’s victory against Bournemouth.

A large number of players, including Evans and Youri Tielemans, are out of contract while the likes of James Maddison and Harvey Barnes look set to be sold to help balance the books.

Evans revealed the squad had said their goodbyes in the dressing room ahead of a likely summer exodus.

Evans, 35, said: “It is a tough thing to take.

“There was silence for a long time in the dressing room afterwards. We know there are a lot of players out of contract.

“There are going to be a lot of changes in the football club.

“It was an opportunity for everybody to say goodbye really. A lot of us don’t know where we are going to end up.

“I said to the boys it has been an amazing five years but the club now have decisions to make.

“I don’t think they probably know what they are going to do.”

Defeat for West Ham concluded a disappointing Premier League campaign in which they finished in 14th, just six points above Leicester.

But their attention is firmly on next week’s Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina in what could be Declan Rice’s last game for the club.

The England midfielder looks set to be sold this summer and if the game in Prague is to be his farewell, boss David Moyes wants him to go out on a high.

“I thought he played great. It was another swashbuckling performance from him at times,” Moyes said of his performance at the King Power Stadium.

“I am really pleased how well he has played for us over the season, he has been exceptional and a credit to himself.

“And now he has the big moment to see if he can lift a trophy for West Ham and he needs to try and get ready to see if he can help us do that.”

Leeds were relegated from the Premier League on Sunday after a three-year stay in the top flight.

The Yorkshire club had needed to beat Tottenham on the final day and hope other results involving Everton and Leicester went their way, but they were beaten 4-1 at Elland Road.

The result meant Sam Allardyce’s side finished 19th in the table, five points behind 17th-placed Everton. Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the reasons why it went wrong.

Bielsa legacy casts shadow

Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani, former director of football Victor Orta and chief executive Angus Kinnear received huge acclaim when the club ended their 16-year Premier League exile in 2020. They played a masterstroke by appointing Marcelo Bielsa as head coach in 2018 but their legacy was always going to be defined by how they filled the vacuum after sacking the Argentinian in February 2022. The board felt they had to act after a poor run of results but, since then, they have got most of their key decisions wrong and the wheels have now fallen off.

What exactly did the board get wrong?

Bielsa’s successor Jesse Marsch was hailed as a natural replacement but performances and results did not improve. Leeds survived relegation last season on the final day and when Marsch was sacked in February this year, he left the club in a worse position in the table. The board’s failed, ill-conceived bids to hire Rayo Vallecano’s Andoni Iraola and Feyenoord’s Arne Slot led to accusations of panic and, after a fans’ backlash, they also reneged on appointing former Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder. So in came Javi Gracia for his ill-fated stint. The club admitted they had erred by parachuting Allardyce into Elland Road with four league games remaining.

Can relegation be blamed solely on the managers?

No. After Leeds defied the odds to finish ninth under Bielsa in their first season back in the top flight, they have failed to sufficiently strengthen their squad. A lack of cover for an injury-prone Patrick Bamford and midfielder Tyler Adams is a prime example. It has also been an imbalanced squad with wide players in abundance but no depth in other key areas. Some signings since promotion, such as Raphinha, Adams, Luis Sinisterra and Willy Gnonto, have been a success, but too many others have failed to make an impact, while the arrival of club-record signing Georginio Rutter has left fans scratching their heads.

Has the ownership issue muddied the waters?

The last-ditch appointment of Allardyce was symptomatic of Leeds’ mis-management and of a club in limbo since the investment arm of San Francisco 49ers increased its stake to 44 per cent at the end of 2021. 49ers Enterprises has an option to own 100 percent by January next year and the ownership issue has not helped decision-making. Orta’s resignation in protest over Gracia’s sacking has left Leeds without a director of football and, if Allardyce departs as expected, they will be without a long-term head coach. How relegation will affect the takeover remains to be seen, while Radrizzani has been linked with a move to buy Sampdoria. The club’s future direction is not clear.

What the papers say

As the Premier League season comes to an end, the summer transfer season is just beginning and Newcastle will have to fight to keep midfielder Bruno Guimaraes from Barcelona. The Times says Barcelona believe it will cost them around £87million to sway Newcastle to let go of the 25-year-old Brazilian.

Chelsea will be looking to put this season behind them after securing former Tottenham and Paris St Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino on a three-year contract, according to the Guardian. The Blues finished 12th this season.

The Sun says promoted Sheffield United are looking at 24-year-old Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis O’Brien, who is currently out on loan to DC United in MLS, to help bolster their squad for the top flight.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: Liverpool have sights set on the Lazio midfielder with the Serbian’s contract set to expire in 2024, according to Goal.

Kim Min-jae: Manchester United and Newcastle are interested in signing the 26-year-old South Korean defender from Napoli, according to Spanish outlet Fijaches and Givemesport.

Gary Lineker has congratulated Everton after his former club survived in the Premier League at the expense of his boyhood team Leicester.

The two clubs had been in jeopardy heading into the final round of fixtures on Sunday but ultimately Everton’s 1-0 victory over Bournemouth ensured they avoided the drop.

At one stage it looked as though it could be the Foxes who stayed up as they took an early lead against West Ham but their eventual 2-1 win was rendered academic by Everton’s result.

The Toffees ended the season in 17th place, two points ahead of Leicester, while Leeds were also relegated after a 4-1 loss to Tottenham.

Former England striker Lineker, who began his career at Leicester before spending a season at Everton in the mid-1980s, tweeted: “Absolutely gutted, but glad it’s Everton. Have a lot of love for that great football club. Congratulations.”

Leicester’s relegation comes seven years after they were crowned Premier League champions and just two years after they won the FA Cup.

Lineker added: “A word on Leicester. If eight years ago, you’d have given me the option of winning the Premier League and the FA Cup and then get relegated, I’d have snapped your hand off. Also I’d have told you not to be so utterly ridiculous.”

It has been a dismal season for Leicester and TV pundit Roy Keane was not sure how quickly they could recover.

The former Manchester United midfielder said on Sky Sports: “They didn’t seem to get any momentum into the season from a bad start. It’s no surprise to see them where they are.

“Clubs can bounce back but it isn’t easy. I think it is a rebuilding job at Leicester.”

Leeds’ three-year stint in the Premier League ended in a whimper as they were thrashed by Spurs at Elland Road.

The club had brought in Sam Allardyce in a last-ditch attempt to escape relegation with four games remaining but the former England boss was unable to engineer a recovery.

The team collected just one point from Allardyce’s games and finished in 19th position, five points behind Everton.

Keane was scathing of their performances.

He said: “They’ve looked weak over the last month or two, even with Sam coming in.

“They were fighting for their lives today and conceded four goals at home. That’s nowhere near good enough.

“Sam obviously came in too late. Defensively they look so weak. Some of the goals – it’s almost pub team defending.

“Not strong enough mentally, that desire – nowhere near good enough.”

Chelsea, meanwhile, aimed a parting shot at Leeds on social media.

Rivalry between those two clubs dates back to some hard-fought clashes in the 1960s and 70s.

In August, Leeds trolled Chelsea on Twitter during their 3-0 victory over the London club.

In that game, Chelsea tweeted the Blues were “starting to assert ourselves” just moments before Leeds opened the scoring and quickly followed with a second goal.

“Life comes at you fast!” Leeds tweeted in reply.

Now, nine months later, Chelsea have got their own back.

“It certainly does,” they tweeted.

Willian wants to stay put at Fulham, though a decision has yet to be made on the Brazilian's future at Craven Cottage.

The 34-year-old former Chelsea and Arsenal playmaker joined Fulham in September last year and has been a key player for Marco Silva's men this season.

Fulham signed off on an impressive first campaign back in the Premier League with a 2-1 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday, with Willian setting up Kenny Tete's opening goal.

That represented Willian's fifth league assist of the season, and his 10th direct goal contribution in the competition for Fulham.

Willian – who is soon to be out of contract – is unsure if he will be staying in west London, but he would be happy to do so.

"I don't know yet," he told Stats Perform. "Honestly, I have no idea what is going to happen. The future belongs to God.

"If I stay at Fulham, for sure I'll be fine, I'll be happy. I feel very good there, it's a club that welcomed me very well. But if it's somewhere else, I'll try to do my best in the same way.

"I haven't decided yet. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks, what I'll decide. But if I could stay in the Premier League and at Fulham, it would be a good thing for me."

Explaining why he elected to return to England with Fulham, who had been tipped to struggle yet managed to remain well clear of danger, Willian said: "I've always loved the Premier League. That's not news to anyone, everyone knows how much I'm a fan of the league here. 

"The Premier League, for me, is the best league in the world.

"Deciding to go to Fulham was a matter of a week or so. I was already in London. I came here to be closer to here and to have some conversations with my manager. It was a matter of a week or so before I decided to go to Fulham.

"I had some talks with Marco Silva as well and I really liked what I talked to him about and what he told me."

Another new signing that has starred for the Cottagers this season is Joao Palhinha, who has impressed as a holding midfielder.

"He's our watchdog," Willian said of the in-demand Portugal international. "He's the watchdog of our team. Without a doubt, he's an important player.

"He's a player who does a fundamental job. As they say in football, he does the dirty work, which is the player who steals a lot of the balls and makes it possible for us to attack the opposition."

Mikel Arteta remained tight-lipped about the future of Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka but was pleased to see him get the appreciation he deserved after their 5-0 thrashing of Wolves.

Xhaka netted a first-half double in what is expected to be his final appearance for the Gunners with a summer exit to Bayer Leverkusen in the works and left the pitch to a standing ovation in the 75th minute with supporters’ urging him to stay.

It completes a remarkable turnaround for the Swiss international, who saw his relationship with the Emirates crowd reach an all-time low in the winter of 2019 during a home match with Crystal Palace where he chucked his shirt on the floor before subsequently being stripped of the captaincy.

Arteta convinced Xhaka not to leave Arsenal during the following transfer window and his brace on the final-day saw the 30-year-old finish the campaign with nine goals, his best ever tally.

Asked about Xhaka’s impending departure, Arteta responded: “You know that?

“It’s news for me.”

The Gunners boss was more forthcoming about the reception Xhaka received before, during and after the emphatic victory over Wolves.

“Well deserved. He’s had an incredible season,” Arteta said.

“I think one year back I spoke to him and I told him ‘there’s a question mark on you, you have to deliver more, you have to be better, I’m going to challenge you to play here.’

“He went back and I think he started to train the next day. He came back in preseason four kilos less, fit, with this (focused) face and really willing to do it. He’s been exceptional.

“He’s been a key part of the team, the success of the team and I’m so happy everybody is appreciating what he’s done.”

While the final-day clash was not the league title celebration Arsenals fans would have hoped for back in April, when they held an eight-point lead over champions Manchester City, Arteta’s side still concluded their campaign in front of a party atmosphere.

After Xhaka’s quickfire double, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Jakub Kiwior netted to earn the hosts a 26th league win of the campaign.

When Arteta addressed the packed Emirates crowd after full-time, he was repeatedly serenaded and the Spaniard expressed his delight at finishing on a good note.

He added: “It was really nice the way they transmitted their love and support to the team, to every player, and obviously to me as well.

“It’s been a really emotional year and a very special season. The team and our people deserved to end it in a good way so I’m really happy.

“It was one of my big dreams to connect again with the soul of this football club – that’s our people. We have done that and there’s no discussion about it. That makes me really proud and grateful to be part of that journey together.

“We want to deliver together success and the destination has to be trophies and success for this club, but we have to enjoy the journey together and especially the company.

“I said it especially there because we have special people in this club, an incredible group of players and an amazing support.

“That has to be enjoyed because at the end it’s about winning or not winning the margin, but you cannot underestimate those other things. I think if we don’t do it then we will regret it.”

It proved a memorable finish for Arsenal, but not for Wolves or their manager Julen Lopetegui.

Lopetegui’s future is uncertain given the financial troubles of the Molineux club and he warned another “miracle” is not guaranteed next season.

“We have lost against one of the best teams in the Premier League but the way we have lost, I am not happy,” he said.

“I don’t want to forgot that the second part of season the team has made has been fantastic, being out of relegation (zone) three matches before end.

“That is why I highlight the merit of the players. Maybe it (survival) has been a little miracle and we have to learn for the future.

“Maybe one miracle is possible, two no. That is why you have to learn for the future to be able to improve and do our hard work.”

Leeds boss Sam Allardyce apologised to the club’s fans after a 4-1 home defeat to Tottenham confirmed their Premier League relegation.

Allardyce, who Leeds had turned to in desperation with four games remaining, also urged the club to quickly resolve their ownership issue to aid their bid to bounce straight back from the Sky Bet Championship.

The former England manager said he had no regrets about taking on the job and will sit down with the board next week to discuss whether he will stay in the role.

Allardyce said: “I can’t say I’ve enjoyed it. I’m glad I came back. I tried my best to get Leeds out of trouble, but I can’t enjoy anything when I don’t win.

“We didn’t leave a stone unturned and it’s really sad that Leeds is in this position and to the fans, I apologise that I didn’t do better and the players didn’t do better.”

Leeds issued a statement shortly after the game also apologising to the club’s supporters for a “painful” relegation.

It read: “We apologise to our fanbase that the performances this season have not seen the club consolidate our status as we had all hoped.

“However, Leeds United remains in a strong position to build a team that can challenge for promotion from the Championship next season.

“We know things have not been good enough, we know we have to improve, but please be assured that behind the scenes we have worked hard to ensure that the past will not be repeated.

“Our focus is now on how we get straight back to the Premier League. ”

Leeds majority shareholder and chairman Andrea Radrizzani is understood to have stayed in Italy as the club crashed out of the top flight.

Harry Kane’s brace and goals from Pedro Porro and Lucas Moura ensured Leeds’ three-year stay was over and Jack Harrison’s second-half effort for Leeds was scant consolation for their fans, who vented their fury at the board throughout the match.

Speculation is mounting over whether a consortium Radrizzani is reported to be part of is poised to complete a takeover at Sampdoria and so expedite the sale of his shares in Leeds to American co-owners 49ers Enterprises.

Allardyce said: “I can tell them (the Leeds board) what I think needs to be done and then they can say what they think.

“Obviously, how is the club going to go forward? And who with? Because we all know about whether it’s going to be bought or stay the same, what’s going to happen?

“That’s probably the first factor that needs to get sorted out before you even speak to me, if you’re going to speak to me.”

Spurs, who missed out on a place in Europe next season despite Sunday’s result, will also begin their search for a new manager and interim boss Ryan Mason said some “huge decisions” would have to be made by the club.

Mason, who has won two of his six games back in temporary charge, said: “First of all it’s to understand who we want to be and where we want to go, going forward.

“Then it’s realising who fits that, members of staff and also players as well. It’s an important few weeks now and hopefully we make the right decisions.”

Mason added: “We have quite big squad. Whoever is in charge in pre-season, there are a lot of players and decisions to make.

“Obviously the bigger picture is disappointment over how the season has gone as a whole because we’ve finished outside of Europe for the first time in a long time. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche will allow his players to briefly enjoy their escape from relegation but he has already laid down the law that major changes are needed at the club.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 57th-minute thunderbolt gave the Toffees a 1-0 win over Bournemouth and the victory which ensured they stayed up and extended their stay in the top flight to 70 successive seasons.

For the second consecutive season there was a pitch invasion at the final whistle – although nowhere near as many numbers joined in as 12 months ago when safety was secured with a game to spare.

There was a feeling inside the club that they did not want to be seen to be celebrating avoiding failure and that probably came from Dyche himself.

“It’s a horrible day for all concerned, there is no joy in it for me other than getting the job done,” said the former Burnley boss, who only took over in late January.

“I came in here to change a mentality and I think there have been signs of that. There is still more to go.

“I said to the the players ‘We shouldn’t be here. Enjoy this today and you’ve earned it but at the end of the day it has got to change’.

“There is no point in sitting on it and saying ‘Look how great we are’ because it is not like that.

“There is loads to change here and a lot of work to be done but it was a big step to secure it.”

Dyche was able to speak from a greater position of strength after avoiding what would have been only the club’s third relegation in their 145-year history.

That gave him the confidence to dish out some home truths in his post-match press conference which he had been reticent to do so previously for fear of creating more instability and detracting from the task in hand.

“Don’t think I thought this was an easy fix because it is not, far from it,” he added.

“It’s a big club, make no mistake. Big history, big club, but we are not performing like a big club. We have to find a way of changing that. This is two seasons now.

“I’ve played my little part in two seasons of this but there is a massive amount of change to build to a new dawn, a new future, a bigger future if you like.”

That future is likely to see him make significant changes to a totally unbalanced squad which somehow avoided relegation despite playing the whole season with their main striker – Dominic Calvert-Lewin – featuring in less than half of it and his back-up – Neal Maupay – managing just one goal (in September) in 29 appearances.

Asked if he would have to sell players, with the club having made more than £430m of losses in the last four years, Dyche added: “There’s a chance. I’ll find out about that.

“There’s not been any depth, there have been peripheral talks based on ifs, buts and maybes but that will come over the coming weeks when we find out the truth of what we have got, what we can do, what we can’t do.

“We had to get this (safety) sorted out, we’ve got it over the line. It was absolutely the key focus. Now it is time to immediately re-focus on the rest of it.”

Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil was disappointed not to have got something from the game.

“I thought we were the better side and had control for the most part but there is still a lot to progress on,” he said.

“We knew we were coming into a tough atmosphere against a direct team and I thought the lads stood up to it well. We maybe didn’t create enough.

“We maybe got a little too desperate towards the end but there was a lot there I liked. It’s just a shame we didn’t score, I always thought we would get one.”

Frank Lampard said he believes the standards at Chelsea have dropped after he signed off as interim manager with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle.

The result means Lampard failed to register a single home victory during his second spell in charge, with his last win as manager at Stamford Bridge still a 3-1 triumph over West Ham in December 2020.

It took a Kieran Trippier own goal, the defender deflecting the ball into the net midway through the first half, to cancel out Anthony Gordon’s early strike.

This was at least an improved performance from Chelsea, particularly in the second half where they played with an attacking initiative rarely seen under Lampard.

The young trio of Noni Madueke, Lewis Hall and substitute Carey Chukwuemeka especially played with the maturity to take charge of the game and drive their team on, after a first half in which Newcastle had made Chelsea look ordinary.

That has happened too often this season, especially at home where there have been six Premier League defeats and only 20 goals scored, the same number as Bournemouth and three fewer than relegated Leicester.

Lampard said he had recognised early in his tenure that leadership and cohesion were lacking among a bloated squad, and hoped that a new manager – expected to be Mauricio Pochettino – would be able to slim down and galvanise the first-team group.

“The standards collectively have dropped,” said Lampard. “I can be honest about that now that it’s my last game, I might not see some of them that much anymore.

“The standards of the collective for a club like Chelsea have to be at the maximum or you won’t be physically competitive enough, or you won’t be able to play at a high level… high speed in a way that the Premier League demands.

“If you’re not together in the dressing room, and you’re not vocal in the dressing room, driving each other and competitive because I want your place and you want mine. Any top team has to have that.

“When I came in very quickly I could see that wasn’t there enough. Of course a very good manager will help that, but everyone has to take responsibility, players and club alike.”

Chelsea’s form has nosedived since Lampard was appointed on April 6, with problems that had been apparent under former manager Graham Potter having only been exacerbated.

Todd Boehly’s whirlwind transfer activity during his first year of ownership has produced a squad of 34 first-team players that both managers have said proved hugely challenging to work with.

It has contributed to Chelsea recording a first bottom-half finish since 1996 and a record low tally of points and goals scored in the Premier League era.

“It’s clear there are things I would see that need to improve,” said Lampard. “A new manager will see with his own eyes and the beauty of it is he’ll have a pre-season to work with the team, they need that.

“We’re not physically competitive enough. Newcastle are and we haven’t been. That’s a strong opinion that I have.

“The squad has been too big, that’s the biggest challenge I’ve found day to day, coming in and working with big numbers, and with players who for whatever reason are disillusioned, whether for right or wrong that they’re not playing, (or) they might be leaving. Those situations can maybe be sorted out now and they have to be.”

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, whose team had already secured qualification for next season’s Champions League ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge, said a first season in 20 years in Europe’s top competition would help loosen the transfer restrictions placed on his club by Financial Fair Play rules.

“FFP will impact what we do this summer,” he said. “Without Champions League football it would have been difficult to do much in the market at all. The fact we have that has given us a bit of a lift.

“The most important people are the players we already have. I’m the type of manager who tries to get the best out of everyone under our employment. We’re looking to add quality, we’re not huge payers of wages in the Premier League, it makes it hard to attract the very best players.

“We need more depth. With three games in a week next year we’re going to be stretched.”

Erik ten Hag told the raucous Old Trafford faithful that Manchester United have a “really good chance” of winning the FA Cup and ending Manchester City’s treble charge.

Having wrapped up Champions League qualification by beating Chelsea on Thursday, the Red Devils sealed third spot in the Premier League on the final day of the campaign.

United bounced back from Kenny Tete’s early header as David De Gea saved Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty before Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes sealed a 2-1 comeback win against Fulham.

The players were given a fantastic reception at full-time and, after presenting De Gea with the Golden Glove trophy, boss Ten Hag made an impassioned speech to fans.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to our players,” he told the stadium. “I think they played a brilliant season.

“They are also supported by the staff. I want to say thank you to the staff.

“Secondly, I want to thank you (the fans) all. We fought really strong during the season at Old Trafford and away.

“I want to thank you for the season and your contribution backing us, for the support – it was great, so thank you.

“But there is still one game to go and I am sure that these players will give everything to beat Manchester City next week.

“If you have our back, I’m sure we have a really good chance to take the cup back to Old Trafford.”

Those comments were met by a huge roar that will increase further still if Ten Hag’s men can beat City at Wembley next Saturday and add the FA Cup to February’s Carabao Cup success.

“You have always a chance in football,” Ten Hag said in the post-match press conference.

“The history shows we beat them in January but I think Man United in the last couple of years beat City many times.

“So, these players know when they play at their levels that they can compete.

“It’s obvious we play against probably – at this moment – the best team, but still there is a chance and we have to go for the chance and we have to give everything.

“We can’t be after the game finding excuses for ourselves. I’m sure we will play a good game on Saturday.”

Ten Hag knows United have to step up after making a sloppy start against Fulham, saying De Gea’s penalty save woke them up.

The United boss again reiterated that he expected the long-serving Spain goalkeeper to extend his contract beyond the end of the season, before seemingly taking a dig at the owners’ backing.

Fans called for the Glazers to leave throughout – as they always do – and Ten Hag said he did not get investment like their top-four rivals in January.

The United boss, who was only able to make loan moves for Jack Butland, Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer, said: “The club knows if you want to play top four, compete for trophies in this tough league, then you have to invest.

“Otherwise you don’t have a chance because other clubs will do.

“We have seen it in the winter that all the clubs around us made huge investments. We didn’t and still we made it, so I’m really happy and proud of my team.”

As for Fulham, they displayed heart at Old Trafford at the end of an impressive season that saw them finish 10th after promotion from the Championship.

Head coach Marco Silva said: “We had very good moments during the game.

“Unfortunately for us, not really consistent during all the match but the way we started we were beginning to control the game.

“We were leading the score and I think it was well deserved because we showed the composure and quality to play, to control most of the moments.

“Of course we had the chance to make it 2-0 and give us even more confidence and create a much-more difficult score for them.

“De Gea saved and of course it was a moment that boosted them. You could feel is straight away in the stadium.

“These are the moments we have to show our maturity, to show more consistency.”

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool will be Premier League contenders next season after ending an underwhelming campaign with a thrilling 4-4 draw at relegated Southampton.

The fifth-placed Reds arrived at St Mary’s knowing they had already missed out on a top-four finish for the first time since 2015-16.

Early goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino appeared to have put the in-form visitors on course for a straightforward success on the south coast.

But they were forced to come from 4-2 behind to stretch their unbeaten run to 11 games following Kamaldeen Sulemana’s brace and strikes from James Ward-Prowse and Adam Armstrong.

Liverpool boss Klopp, whose side avoided defeat thanks to a goal from substitute Cody Gakpo and Jota’s second, was happy to see the back of 2022-23 and confident next term would be far more memorable.

“There were moments during the season when you thought ‘the season will be four years long’,” he said.

“Thank God for the last 11 games, that helped massively, gave us a real boost, gave us a perspective, gave us a basis for what we have to do.

“That it didn’t turn into the best ever season, we see that, we know that, we are very disappointed about the fact that we didn’t make it to the top four.

“But there are moments when you have to admit there were four teams that were better than us – that’s the truth.

“We played a bad season, we come fifth, that is a message as well.

“Imagine we were our normal self, which we absolutely will be again next season and will be a contender again. That’s how is it. The last 11 games helped us to realise that again.”

Gakpo and Jota struck in the 72nd and 73rd minutes respectively to prevent Liverpool slipping to a shock defeat, while Mohamed Salah hit a post late on.

Klopp felt his players contributed to their own undoing during a “silly” period of a chaotic contest.

“We are 2-0 up and you know these Southampton players want to pay back to these people (home fans) and we let them, just opened the door for a really talented offensive team, with the speed they have,” he said.

“I can make a list of things we weren’t and that led to the counter attacks they had.

“Then it’s 2-2 and 4-2 and then we started doing the right things again. I think we could have scored a fifth and a sixth.

“Top start, outstanding finish, in between just silly.”

Roy Hodgson believes an 11th-placed finish for Crystal Palace is an excellent achievement.

A 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest saw the south London outfit finish in their highest position since 2017-18, in a campaign that saw the 75-year old replace Patrick Vieira in March.

A Will Hughes effort cancelled out an opener for Taiwo Awoniyi, but Hodgson – who refused to be drawn on his future – was proud of the club’s accomplishment.

“An 11th place for Palace, in any season, is always acceptable. At the moment that is definitely where we want to be at least,” Hodgson said.

“We can always hope we have a better season and some of the seasons beyond that, and hope we get into the top half.

“But I think there’s always going to be a gap to teams which spend £200million or more on putting their playing staff together, whose only interest is getting into the Champions League.

“I hope our fans and the club realise that’s a hell of an ask where you can finish higher than 11th or 12th.”

Nottingham Forest took the lead in a 60-second spell that could have seen them fall behind.

A shot by Eberechi Eze on the hour was blocked by Jordan Ayew, with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey turning away a Hughes shot on the rebound.

A long ball out of the Forest half almost immediately by Morgan Gibbs-White found Awoniyi, who got the better of Joachim Anderson in the box and slotted home.

Palace equalised in the 65th minute, albeit with some good fortune. A cross by Michael Olise into the box was flicked on by Hughes past Hennessey – although the ball deflected off the challenging Willy Boly.

While both sides were looking for a winning effort to round off the season, it proved to be a satisfactory – if winless – ending for both sides.

Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper revealed his appreciation for Hodgson, and also believed the travelling support got a deserved reward.

“I said to Roy at the end it was an honour to come up against him. I’ve only done four years of this first-team lark,” Cooper said.

“For him to do as much as he’s done and to have the career he’s done, I’m full of admiration. He doesn’t need any kind words from me, but at the same time it’s a privilege to come up against him.

“We wanted to win and I think it was important to give the supporters a result.

“Our away support has been incredible and we haven’t given them enough in terms of results and sometimes performances.

“It could have been any result today and it would have been the same atmosphere, they’ve given us that.”

Dean Smith says Leicester have the capability to bounce straight back to the Premier League after they were relegated on Sunday.

The Foxes became just the second former champions to drop out of the division, joining Blackburn in 1999, as their 2-1 final-day win against West Ham was not enough to keep them in the division due to Everton’s victory over Bournemouth.

They went 2-0 up thanks to goals from Harvey Barnes and Wout Faes, with Pablo Fornals pulling one back for the Hammers, but it counted for nothing.

Relegation represents a huge fall from grace as that remarkable 5000-1 title came in 2016 and they have enjoyed much more recent success as they won the FA Cup in 2021 under Brendan Rodgers, who also delivered back-to-back fifth-placed finishes.

It will be the Championship next season, though Smith, who replaced Rodgers on a short-term SOS mission last month, reckons it could be a short stay in the second tier.

He said: “The raw materials this club has is an elite club. It feels raw now and it hurts and everybody will be devastated but with the infrastructure it has got it can bounce back.

“That is what happens. There has been plenty of times where you have knocks and your job is to bounce back and make sure you improve on the things that let you down and I have no doubt the club will.

“I think it has to (reset). Any club that gets relegated, they have to find a way to bounce back. There are plenty of knocks in football, it is, we all know that week in, week out,about how you bounce back.

“From what I have seen with the infrastructure I see no reason why it can’t bounce straight back.”

It remains to be seen whether Smith will lead that charge next season as his future remains in the air.

His eight-game remit has now ended, but he has experience of winning promotion in the Championship with Aston Villa.

Smith says he has not yet thought about his long-term future but will speak to chairman Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha in a few days.

“Seven weeks, eight games, we didn’t speak about anything beyond that. I will speak to Top, who I have an awful lot of respect for, over the next couple of days and commiserate with him because the time and effort he puts into this football club is there for all to see.

“I am certainly not thinking about my future at the moment. It is raw getting relegated now, I’ll go away and reflect on it, speak to John (Rudkin) and Top. It’s a hypothetical question at the moment.”

Defeat ended a disappointing Premier League season for West Ham where they finished 14th, six points above the drop zone.

But boss David Moyes admitted his mind has been on the forthcoming Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina in Prague.

“It’s been on it for a long time, but what would you expect? Getting to European finals don’t come around too often. It’s been 47 years for West Ham.

“We’ve got to the final, we started back in August now going into June to the final and to try and have a good Premier League season and keep the competition going, it takes a big effort and it was a big effort to retain Premier League status and to ensure we keep winning in the cup.

“We wanted a draw because that would have got us one place higher in the league which might not mean much but it does to us, we were desperate to get there.

“We’ve got nothing to celebrate but playing against a team who has been relegated shows how devastating it can be.”

Unai Emery toasted Aston Villa’s “champagne moment” after they qualified for Europe for the first time since 2010.

The manager has sparked a turnaround at Villa Park having been appointed in October, after the club sacked Steven Gerrard sitting three points above the relegation zone.

Sunday’s 2-1 win over Brighton – who had already qualified for the Europa League – earned a Europa Conference League play-off spot after a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League.

Douglas Luiz and Ollie Watkins scored to seal their return, despite Deniz Undav’s strike for Brighton.

“Today is a champagne moment,” said Villa boss Emery.

“When you are working and focusing week-to-week, you are not having a lot of days to celebrate something, 70 per cent of our time was spent working.

“I want to celebrate with the club, players, friends, family and I want to enjoy what we have achieved.

“It was not the first objective in this year, our progression has been fantastic. We did it and it’s very important to celebrate and be happy now, to enjoy the moment in our life.

“We started thinking our progression was going well and some teams, they are not being consistent. When we won at Chelsea (a 2-0 win in April to move to ninth) we were with them and we were in 11th for a long time. It was the most difficult step going up.

“When we were in the top 10 we started thinking about getting sixth or seventh. Brighton did a great season, they deserve to be in the Europa League.”

Leon Bailey had already hit the bar before Luiz gave Villa an eight-minute lead, steering in Jacob Ramsey’s cross.

Undav had a goal disallowed after Julio Enciso was offside in the build-up before Watkins scored his 15th of the season to make it 2-0, tapping in after Ramsey’s driving run.

But Brighton hit back seven minutes before half-time when Undav collected Pascal Gross’ quick free-kick and finished past Emi Martinez – initially ruled offside before being overturned by VAR.

Ramsey should have made it 3-1 after the break, only to lift over from five yards with the goal gaping, and Jason Steele saved Watkins’ header.

Alexis Mac Allister drove wide but Brighton never tested Martinez as they finished their historic season with defeat.

But the Seagulls have bettered last term’s finish of ninth to finish sixth – the highest in their history – to also reach Europe for the first time.

At the end, a tearful Mac Allister, linked with Liverpool, left the pitch along with Caicedo for whom Brighton rejected a £70million offer from Arsenal in January and boss Roberto De Zerbi reiterated they could move on in the summer.

He said: “It can be the last game of Alexis and Moises Caicedo. I’m really sorry because they are two great people and great players. But the policy of Brighton is like this.

“It’s right they can leave, change team and play at a higher level. I don’t know but we are ready, we have to find other big players to play without Alexis and Moises.

“I love them and they are two big, big players but when I speak about my players, they can play in a big European team. For Brighton, we can still improve.

“We can bring other good players in and improve the same way. The Premier League will be tougher.

“We had different motivation than Aston Villa, we played well, with honour, with respect for the Premier League, respect for ourselves, for our fans, our club.

“Aston Villa deserved to qualify for the Conference League and we deserved to qualify for the Europa League.”

Pep Guardiola admits he does not know if Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish will be fit for next weekend’s FA Cup final.

Manchester City’s attacking duo, and defender Ruben Dias, missed the
1-0 final-day defeat at Brentford through injury.

The champions, who face Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday as they bid to complete the second leg of an historic Treble, were consigned to defeat by Ethan Pinnock’s late goal.

With De Bruyne and Grealish missing completely and left on the bench, it was a scratch City side and those established stars who did play, like Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez, had little impact.

But Guardiola said: “Congratulations to Brentford for the victory. It’s difficult to faze them, how quick they play, how aggressive they are in all departments.

“I’m pretty sure we would have behaved a little bit different if we needed the points.

“I don’t have any complaints of how we behaved, I said to the players just now ‘you won the title, enjoy two days with your families and then we will prepare for the first final’.

“The guys who didn’t play who normally play were exhausted yesterday, mentally completely drained. They needed to rest to arrive with the right energy to face United.”

When asked if the players who missed out would be fit for Wembley, Guardiola said: “I don’t know right now. Hopefully.

“Ruben, Jack and Kevin couldn’t play. It is what it is. I think they will be ready but it’s hard to get ready in training. That’s why I had to see the players who played today.”

Pinnock’s 85th-minute strike made Brentford the only team to do the double over City this season, and only the fifth since Guardiola took over in 2016.

The Spaniard added: “They are the best team by far at set-pieces, they are exceptional. What Thomas Frank has done for years is amazing and the unity of his squad is there for all to see.

“Hopefully we can do better and beat them like we did last season, so we have a target for next season already.”

The Bees still needed a double save from goalkeeper David Raya to deny Cole Palmer at the death to end another impressive season on a high.

They had a slim chance to qualify for the Europa Conference League, and although victories for Tottenham and Aston Villa ultimately scuppered that dream, they finished a creditable ninth.

“Of course beating them twice means something, it means even more for the fans, they like that narrative and hopefully City win the Treble,” said Frank.

“Ending ninth in the Premier League, getting 59 points – and maybe deserve to have even more – it’s incredible the journey we have been on.

“What advice would I give United and Inter Milan? Well, I think we top performed in those two games.

“They are the best offensive team in then world so you need to defend very well and we did, and we were very brave throughout the game. I loved that from my players.”

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