Premier League: Tottenham beat Aston Villa 3-0 to secure Europa League football
Last Updated: 11/05/14 7:44pm
Tottenham secured a comfortable 3-0 final-day victory against Aston Villa to ensure they will be playing Europa League football next season.
Tim Sherwood's side nailed down sixth position in the Premier League table thanks to first-half goals from Paulinho, an unfortunate Nathan Baker own goal and Emmanuel Adebayor's cool penalty.
Best of the match:
- Man of the match: Paulinho - The Brazilian produced a masterful first-half performance controlling the middle of the park.
- Goal of the match: Paulinho's opening goal of the game was well taken, albeit at the second attempt after good work by Gylfi Sigurdsson and a lucky flick off Harry Kane.
- Moment of the match: Tim Sherwood offered a home fan his five minutes of fame after dragging him from the crowd and then telling him to warm his seat next to a bemused looking Les Ferdinand.
- Stat of the match: Tottenham finished above Manchester United for the first time in 24 years.
- Talking point: With Sherwood likely to become the club's 10th departing manager in little more than 10 years, who will take charge at Spurs? Ajax boss Frank de Boer and Southampton's Mauricio Pochettino are the reported targets.
The result kept Manchester United behind them for the first time in 24 years as they secured Europa League qualification for a fourth consecutive season.
With constant speculation over his future, it remains unclear if Sherwood will still be the man to lead the north London club into next season though.
Meanwhile, Villa finish in 15th position for the second season in a row.
Boss Paul Lambert and his players, staff and the club's supporters now find themselves in limbo until American owner Randy Lerner finally breaks his silence on his plans for the future.
Tottenham enjoyed a positive start to the contest and created the first chance in the 10th minute when Adebayor slid a pass into the near post for Harry Kane, but the young striker's shot was blocked by Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Villa were struggling to establish a foothold as Spurs continued to pile forward and in the 14th minute the hosts broke the deadlock.
Christian Eriksen's quick pass allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to feed Paulinho who saw his first shot saved but the Brazilian pounced on the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.
Paulinho should have doubled the lead a minute later as Kyle Naughton picked the ball up on the right and fed the midfielder inside the box but he skewed his shot wide with only Guzan to beat.
Villa were chasing shadows in defence as Eriksen and Sigurdsson continued to find pockets of space behind the Spurs front two.
With 35 minutes on the clock, the home side doubled their advantage as Eriksen's cross fell to Danny Rose who drove the ball to the near post and Baker, under pressure from Adebayor, turned the ball into his own net.
The home fans had barely ended their celebrations before Tottenham were in again as Eriksen played Kane through but, just as the striker was about to pull the trigger, Fabian Delph slid in to make an excellent block.
Villa's misery was compounded though two minutes later when a penalty was awarded as Sandro's long-range shot struck the lifted arm of Gabriel Agbonlahor in the area and Adebayor stepped up to convert his 14th goal of the season.
Michael Dawson could have even made it four before half-time but his header was saved by Guzan, who was perhaps the only Villa player to leave the field with any credit at half-time.
The visitors started the second period with a greater determination to shut down Tottenham's space, pressing the ball with far more intensity than they had in the first half.
Delph went close shortly before the hour as he latched on to Agbonlahor's cushioned header but drove his half-volley just wide of the post.
The match drifted into the final 10 minutes with both sides seemingly happy to play the game out as chances dried up at both ends.
One of the loudest cheers came when Sherwood gave a vocal Tottenham fan a club jacket and a place among the team coaches for the final five minutes of the match.
Spurs fans will now wait to see who will be sitting on their bench at the start of next season.
Barclays Premier League
Sun 11th May
Cardiff0 - 2Chelsea
Fulham2 - 2C Palace
Hull City0 - 2Everton
Liverpool2 - 1Newcastle
Man City2 - 0West Ham
Norwich0 - 2Arsenal
So'ton1 - 1Man Utd
S'land1 - 3Swansea
Tottenham3 - 0A Villa
W Brom1 - 2Stoke
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||27||39|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||27||30|
|17||Queens Park Rangers||26||22|
Tottenham v Aston Villa
Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar admits that this campaign has been disappointing, and is eyeing improvement next season.
Paul Lambert highlighted the need for investment at Villa and hailed his survival achievement after losing to Spurs.
Soccer Saturday pundit Phil Thompson believes Tim Sherwood should be allowed to continue as manager at Tottenham next season.