Pep Guardiola allowed himself a joke at Manchester City's expense after a thrilling comeback against Aston Villa clinched the Premier League title, claiming he asked Real Madrid how to rescue a seemingly lost cause.

It was Madrid who broke City's hearts in the Champions League semi-finals this season, recovering from 5-3 down on aggregate heading into the 90th minute of the second leg to remarkably pull off a 6-5 win after extra time.

That trophy remains frustratingly out of reach, but the Premier League is City's yet again, won by the mighty Etihad Stadium outfit for a fourth time in five seasons.

A stunning 3-2 victory against Villa on Sunday saw City over the line, with Ilkay Gundogan coming off the bench to net a decisive double, sandwiching a fine strike from Rodri.

Villa had led 2-0 and at that stage everything was up for grabs, with Liverpool tantalisingly close to pipping City on the final day. Yet 12 minutes and 22 seconds after City surrendered the second Villa goal to Philippe Coutinho, the game had turned around and the hosts were in front.

Asked how the flurry of goals had come about, Guardiola said: "I called Real Madrid and they gave me good advice, this was the reason why."

He followed the quip by adding: "No explanation in Madrid, no explanation today. It's momentum."

The City celebrations were in full swing on Sunday evening and were set to spill into Monday, with a bus parade planned.

"Tomorrow we can celebrate together in the Manchester streets with cigars and beers," Guardiola said.

He has backed his players all season, even after the collapse in Madrid, and said the Premier League remains the ultimate measure of their quality.

"When you win the Premier League in this country four times in five seasons, it is because these guys are so, so special," Guardiola said.

"This game is completely different than the other ones. You have to close something that is so difficult. It's like serving to win Wimbledon. It's the most difficult one, the tennis players say that, so it was quite similar today."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said City's four titles in five years represents, for the coaching staff, "probably the best achievement we have done in our careers".

"I'm not saying the Premier League is better or more important than the Champions League, but it is the most honest one," Guardiola said. "The Premier League doesn't lie. It's 38 games, away and home. Many problems for all the teams and in the end who wins it's because of who is the best.

"These guys are legends already. This group of players are absolutely eternal in this club because what we have achieved is so difficult."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta knew his side needed a miraculous turnaround in fortunes to make the Champions League, but that does not stop the failure hurting him.

The Gunners defeated Everton 5-1 at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, yet the result merely capped off what will ultimately prove a frustrating season.

Arsenal lost their opening three Premier League matches of the season but enjoyed a resurgence, with the emergence of young talents such as Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah helping them push on for a top-four place.

Arteta's team were firmly in the driving seat before taking on Tottenham in the north London derby on May 12, yet a heavy defeat to their rivals, followed by a 2-0 reverse at Newcastle United on Monday, left Arsenal needing Spurs to slip up against already relegated Norwich City on the final day of the season.

And while Arsenal did their bit against a much-changed Everton side – Frank Lampard's team had secured safety with a draining 3-2 comeback win against Crystal Palace on Thursday – Spurs romped to a 5-0 victory at Carrow Road, ensuring they would be the ones to take the final Champions League spot.

Arsenal must settle for fifth and a place in the Europa League, a fact that leaves Arteta hugely frustrated.

He told a news conference "We did what we had to do. We needed a miracle, it didn't occur. That's it.

"At the end of the season the table doesn't lie. It's true, last season Chelsea were in the Champions League with 67 points. We have 69 and we are out of it. But that's the level and the demands that this league has now.

"I cannot assess the season, I'm still in a lot of pain after what happened on Monday and I would like to have a fair assessment on what we've done.

"What I can guarantee you is we have tried to squeeze the lemon, to every single bit of juice that would come, and we have reached the point where we have reached.

"You see what we have on the pitch, we know where we have to go. We have generated the expectations that I wanted for this football club. In the end we came short and that feeling of guilt is painful."

Arsenal had gone unbeaten in their final league game in each of the last 16 seasons and that record never looked in danger of not being extended against Everton, who have lost their final league game in five of the last six campaigns.

Gabriel Martinelli's penalty and Eddie Nketiah's header put Arsenal 2-0 up inside 31 minutes, with second-half strikes from Cedric Soares, Gabriel Magalhaes and Martin Odegaard rendering Donny van de Beek's goal a consolation. 

Nketiah, who has scored five league goals this season, is one of three players soon to be out of contract at Arsenal, and he was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette midway through the second half – the Frenchman's deal is also up at the end of June.

Mohamed Elneny played the full 90 minutes on what could also be his final Gunners appearance, and Arteta revealed the decisions have been made on the trio's future, though it was unclear whether any of them would be staying on.

"It's been decided, but it's very difficult to communicate it," he said.

"What they deserve is to have a little bit of what they had today, but to do it earlier with three situations like that is very awkward and could effect the team.

"Those players know their situation, when it is going to be communicated and those players will know face to face, which is what they deserve."

Only in 1993-94 (22) have Everton lost more games in a Premier League season than the 21 defeats they have suffered in the competition this term, but having achieved his goal of keeping them up, Lampard is now eager to look to the future.

He told reporters: "We want to improve in a lot of ways. The way we played in the past month has been fantastic. 

"You can never stand still and relax in this game. The reasons why we were in a relegation fight was very real and we need to improve."

Punjab Kings closed their 2022 Indian Premier League season with a five-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai.

Liam Livingstone led the way for the Kings with an impressive knock of 49 from 22 balls as they condemned Hyderabad to a sixth defeat in seven matches with four overs to spare.

Hyderabad won the toss and elected to bat first in the final match of the regular season, which pitted two teams that had failed to qualify for the play-offs.

Despite the early dismissal of Priyam Garg for just four, Abhishek Sharma (43) and Rahul Tripathi (20) moved Hyderabad to 61-1 before the latter was caught at short fine leg.

Aiden Markram (21), Washington Sundar (25) and Romario Shepherd (26 not out) added further contributions to the cause of Hyderabad, who set a target of 157-8.

Jonny Bairstow (23) made the early running for the Kings before he was bowled by Fazalhaq Farooqi.

Shahrukh Khan (19) and Mayank Agarwal (one) went in the space of two overs, but the 41-run partnership of Livingstone and Shikhar Dhawan put the Kings well in control.

Despite Dhawan going for 39 to Farooqi, Livingstone was not to be moved as he hit four boundaries during the 15th over (two sixes and two fours) against Shepherd to move his side to the brink of victory, which was secured when Prerak Mankad hit the rope with his very first ball.

Livingstone does the damage

Once again, Livingstone produced an inspired batting display for the Kings with his knock of 49, including five sixes, although he narrowly missed out on a fifth half-century of the season, which would have moved him level with David Warner (five).

Meanwhile, only Jos Buttler (37) bettered his tally of 34 sixes during the regular campaign.

Three wickets for Brar

While Livingstone led the way from the crease, Harpreet Brar shone with the ball.

The spinner took three important wickets to stop Hyderabad in their tracks; ending Sharma and Tripathi's 47-run partnership by dismissing the latter, and finishing with an impressive 3-26 from his four overs.

Stefano Pioli says Milan's Scudetto triumph was fully deserved as they were more consistent than Inter and showed more belief than their fierce rivals.

Milan ended their 11-year wait to finish top of Serie A with a 3-0 win at Sassuolo on Sunday, rendering Inter's win at home to Sampdoria by the same scoreline meaningless.

The Rossoneri finished two points ahead of erstwhile champions Inter to claim their first trophy since the 2016 Italian Super Cup some 1,976 days ago.

Pioli's men won their final five matches and went 15 without defeat to see out the campaign, with their final tally of 88 points their second best ever in the three-points-per-win era.

And after a gripping title battle with Inter that went down to the final game – the first time that has happened in Serie A since 2009-10 – Pioli was full of praise for his players.

"They are phenomenal," he told DAZN. "I am happy for them, for myself, for the fans, the club. This Scudetto makes us all very happy.

"We showed more consistency than Inter. The last game we lost was against Spezia in January and even then we shouldn't have lost it.

"The team never gave up; all the players were fantastic. We fully deserved this Scudetto because we believed in it more. We are a strong team and I have great staff around me."

Olivier Giroud scored twice for Milan in their title-clinching win at Sassuolo and Franck Kessie added a third before half-time.

Rafael Leao assisted two of those strikes and has been involved in at least one goal in his past six league appearances, including three strikes of his own.

The Portugal international was named as Serie A's Most Valuable Player for 2021-22, while Pioli was named Coach of the Year.

"I have the players and the club to thank for that," Pioli said. "This award is for them. Without them what we achieved would not have been possible."

Jack Grealish was reduced to tears after Manchester City's stunning turnaround against Aston Villa secured the first Premier League title of his career.

An unused substitute at the Etihad Stadium, Grealish watched on from the bench as Pep Guardiola's men fell 2-0 behind against his former club, who appeared set to hand the crown to Liverpool.

However, City hit back in emphatic fashion with three goals in the space of five minutes – Ilkay Gundogan's brace sandwiching a Rodri strike – completing a remarkable turnaround and sealing a fourth title in five seasons in a 3-2 victory.

Grealish has endured a tricky first year at the Etihad since making a British-record £100million switch from Villa.

But with a first Premier League triumph under his belt, the England international is confident he can truly kick on next season.

"It's unbelievable," he told Sky Sports. "After the third goal went in, I ran onto the pitch and, after that, I ran straight down the tunnel, I was just crying my eyes out.

"We know how good of a side they were, and they showed it today. But we knew with our quality, we can beat anyone.

"I can't put it into words. When I signed here, people would say to me: 'what do you actually want to win, the Champions League or Premier League?' For me, I've never won it, so it's incredible.

"It's harder [playing at City] than I thought. It's more difficult than I thought, but I’ve enjoyed it all. It's been difficult.

"This today, makes up for it, it really does. I know that I can kick on, and I certainly will."

Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling, who took his personal Premier League winners’ medal tally to four, highlighted the talent and determination within Guardiola’s squad.

"It shows what a talented bunch [of players] we have, and the determination to go year in and year out and try to challenge for the title. It's an unbelievable achievement," he said.

"At 1-0, I still thought we could do it. When I saw that second goal go in, it was a real disappointing one. But with the players that we have and still having time on the board, it’s still possible, so what a win!

"Each year, we know how difficult it’s going to be. Liverpool is a great opponent; every year, they push us to the wire, but this is why we can achieve stuff like this."

Kevin De Bruyne expressed his pride after Manchester City sealed a dramatic Premier League title win on the final day of the season, highlighting how his side had to be consistently "excellent" in the face of Liverpool's challenge.

City went into their home contest with Aston Villa knowing a win would confirm their fourth top-flight title in five seasons, though things looked desperate for Pep Guardiola's men when Matty Cash and Philippe Coutinho gave Steven Gerrard's men a 2-0 lead.

But an Ilkay Gundogan brace, scored either side of Rodri's leveller, sparked jubilant scenes as City retained their crown despite Liverpool's 3-1 victory over Wolves, with De Bruyne providing the assist for the all-important winner.

The win marked the first time City had come from two goals down to win a Premier League game since beating Norwich City 3-2 in February 2005, while Liverpool finished second with a massive 92 points – the second-highest tally amassed by a team to not win the title after their own 97 in 2018-19.

Jurgen Klopp's side pushed City all the way after going unbeaten through their last 19 games of the season, winning 16, and De Bruyne said overcoming Liverpool's relentless challenge was a great source of pride.

"It's hard because Liverpool push you that far, and you need to be excellent all the time," he told Sky Sports. "There's never a moment where you can play a little bit less, losing some points means it's the end.

"We feel so proud because they've pushed us that far for years and years, but we've still managed to find a way."

De Bruyne was named the Premier League's Player of the Season after top-scoring for Guardiola's men with 15 league goals, also adding eight assists and either scoring or laying on a goal in 14 of City's last 20 league outings.

The Belgium international also joked his cross for Gundogan's winner was his best of the campaign, as he hailed the Germany midfielder - and fellow substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko - for changing the game.

Asked where his assist ranked, De Bruyne replied: "The best, the best, honestly!

"It's not the best cross but Ilkay is there, I just wanted to put it in a place where we could score. Ilkay and Zinchenko changed the game for me.

"He [Gundogan] has got a real good timing when going in front of goal, and he won us the game."

Meanwhile, just 12 minutes and 22 seconds separated Villa going 2-0 up and Gundogan completing the turnaround, and De Bruyne admitted City were beginning to panic before scoring their first.

"Maybe [we panicked] a couple of times! But I think it's normal in this situation, it's so different, you can't really explain it," he added. "We tried to stay as calm as possible, but sometimes there was a little bit.

"2-1 just changed the whole situation, you see the whole stadium changes, the atmosphere, and we just didn't look back. 

"You just go for it, you're losing anyway, and you just want to change the situation, and that's what we did. 

"It changed quickly with the first and the second goal, I think we created more chances before that, but it is what it is.

"I knew it was 1-1 at half-time [in Liverpool's clash with Wolves] but after I'm not too sure – I think it was 1-1 for a long time.

"Even then, I think we looked at ourselves and if you see how we tried to change the situation, we tried to force it ourselves and didn't want to look at Liverpool. Luckily, we managed it."

Simone Inzaghi congratulated Milan on their "extraordinary" Scudetto triumph but vowed Inter will come back stronger next season.

Inter beat Sampdoria 3-0 in their final game of the 2021-22 season on Sunday, though it was not enough to stop fierce rivals Milan from claiming a first Serie A crown since 2011.

The Rossoneri had to lose if Inter were to pip them to top spot, but they showed no signs of final day nerves in a comfortable 3-0 win at Sassuolo.

It is only the second time in seven such instances in the three-points-per-win era that Inter have missed out on top spot despite registering 80 points or more.

Their final tally of 84 points were two fewer than Milan managed, with Stefano Pioli's men winning their final five games and going 15 without defeat to conclude the campaign.

While proud of his own side's form in the second half of the season, Inzaghi was quick to praise Milan for seeing out the job.

"Congratulations must go to them because they had an extraordinary season," he told DAZN. "Congratulations to them for managing 86 points.

"Over the last 30 points on offer, we managed three points more than Milan. I am proud of what we have done.

"In February we had a double-header with Liverpool in the Champions League and that had an impact [on our league form].

"Now, in the next few days, we will analyse where we could have claimed the extra victory that would have turned the season from beautiful to extraordinary."

Inzaghi may have fallen just short of retaining the title Inter won last season, but the ex-Lazio head coach won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in his first year in charge.

He is the third manager in Inter's history to win at least 25 matches in his maiden Serie A campaign, after Aldo Olivieri (1950-51) and Jose Mourinho (2008-09).

Reflecting on the campaign as a whole, Inzaghi said: "It has been a challenging journey. But we lifted two trophies and only lost to Liverpool and Real Madrid in Europe.

"Nobody likes being second, but this season will be hard to forget."

Milan and Inter have finished in the top-two spots in successive seasons for the first time ever and will be much fancied to battle it out for the Scudetto again next time around.

After losing a number of key men ahead of this season, Inzaghi is hoping for a positive transfer window to help Inter bounce back in the 2022-23 campaign.

"I'll meet with [chairman Steven] Zhang with a cool head and we'll discuss the future," he said. "We have to do things well because we have fans who deserve to be brought joy.

"[Romelu] Lukaku, [Achraf] Hakimi and [Christian] Eriksen were big losses. We've worked hard to stay competitive and the hope is we can make our squad more competitive."

Manchester City sealed the Premier League title in dramatic fashion as they came from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2.

It meant Liverpool's own comeback win over Wolves was rendered meaningless, as Jurgen Klopp's team finished second, one point off the pace.

Chelsea capped an ultimately underwhelming campaign by beating Watford, who will be joined in the Championship next season by Burnley – the Clarets relegated by a defeat to Newcastle United, while Leeds United beat Brentford to stay up.

Already safe Everton were hammered 5-1 at Arsenal, but the Gunners' big win was not enough to get them into the Champions League as Tottenham thrashed Norwich City.

Elsewhere, Manchester United lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace to end a dismal season for them, but they did at least qualify for the Europa League, as West Ham were beaten 3-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion, meaning David Moyes' team will take a place in next season's Europa Conference League.

For the final time this season, Stats Perform looks at the best facts from across the Premier League's fixtures, using Opta data.

Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa: Gerrard's dream dashed by Gundogan

Steven Gerrard never managed to win the league with Liverpool but he looked destined to give his old club a huge helping hand when Villa took a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium.

Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho put Villa 2-0 up midway through the second half, and he has now scored five goals against City in the Premier League, more than against any other team.

However, substitute Ilkay Gundogan became the first player to score twice from the bench for City since Sergio Aguero did so against Everton on the final day of last season, as he inspired a comeback for the ages.

Gundogan scored either side of Rodri's equaliser – there were just 12 minutes and 22 seconds between City going 2-0 down, and then leading 3-2 in the match.

City have now won a sixth Premier League title, with four of those coming in the past five seasons under Pep Guardiola, while it was the first time the club have come from two goals down to win a top-flight game since February 2005.

Liverpool 3-1 Wolves: Salah seals share of Golden Boot but Reds settle for second

There will be no quadruple for Liverpool, who nevertheless have a Champions League final to look forward to on May 28.

Liverpool have finished the season on 92 points, the second-highest total by a side that did not go on to win the title in English top-flight history, behind only their own 97 in 2018-19.

Sadio Mane cancelled out Pedro Neto's opener (the third-earliest Premier League goal for Wolves, timed at 02:11), with the Senegal star having scored six goals on the final day of the Premier League season for Liverpool, the most of any player at the club – three of those strikes have come against Wolves.

Mohamed Salah finally got Liverpool in front in the 84th minute to take him to 23 goals for the season, meaning he shares the Golden Boot with Son Heung-min. Andrew Robertson added a third, which means Wolves have now lost their last 11 league meetings with the Reds by an aggregate score of 24-3.

Arsenal 5-1 Everton, Norwich City 0-5 Tottenham: North London rivals go big

It has been a frustrating end to the season for Arsenal, who let a Champions League place slip out of their grasp and fall into Tottenham's lap.

The Gunners put five past a much-changed Everton team. Arsenal have now scored more goals against the Toffees than any other side has netted against another team in Premier League history (117).

Arsenal are also unbeaten in their final league game in each of the last 17 seasons (W15 D2), winning the last 11 in a row, while Everton have lost their final league game in five of the last six seasons (D1), conceding at least three goals in each defeat.

Only in 1993-94 (22) have Everton lost more games in a Premier League season than the 21 defeats they have suffered in the competition this term, but they have nevertheless stayed up. Norwich were not so lucky, and their place at the bottom was confirmed by a hammering at home to rampant Spurs.

Tottenham ended the season with 71 points, only in three previous Premier League campaigns have they had more points – 86 in 2016-17, 77 in 2017-18 and 72 in 2012-13.

Son Heung-min is the first Asian player to win the Premier League Golden Boot, while Harry Kane has scored nine goals on the final day of Premier League seasons, the joint-most in the competition's history.

Burnley 1-2 Newcastle United, Brentford 1-2 Leeds United: Another late show caps Whites' survival

Leeds defeated Brentford thanks to a last-gasp Jack Harrison goal, and only City (nine) have netted more goals in the 90th minute than the Whites have this season (eight).

That effort, combined with Burnley's defeat at Newcastle, ensured Leeds avoided the drop and it was Burnley who were relegated.

Burnley netted their 300th Premier League goal, the 32nd side to hit that milestone in the competition, but it was not enough to inspire a comeback after Callum Wilson's double.

The Clarets faced a team in form, with only Liverpool (51), City (43) and Tottenham (41) having picked up more points than Newcastle in 2022.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was "happy for a good final day" as Ross Barkley marked his 100th appearance with the winning goal against Watford, while Ben Chilwell made his long-awaited return from injury.

The Blues secured third place ahead of Tottenham as Barkley's stoppage-time header sealed a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel's side controlled large periods of their clash with the relegated Hornets, but looked like they would have to settle for a point when Dan Gosling cancelled out Kai Havertz's first-half strike.

But substitute Barkley celebrated his 100th appearance for the club by heading in Reece James' cross in the 91st minute to snatch only a second win in six Premier League games on home soil. 

The Blues' campaign also ended on a high as Chilwell returned to action, having not played since November after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

It capped off what was a pleasing day all around for Tuchel, who also handed Kenedy his first Premier League appearance for Chelsea in five years.

"It looked like we almost gave it away again at the end and had another draw at home, but we came back strongly," he said.

"Reece and Ross turned it around in our favour. I'm happy for Ross to score on what was his 100th game in a Chelsea shirt.

"It was a mood changer for us today, and we are happy to end with a win. 

"The season was more or less finished for us, so we gave some players an opportunity to play who didn't have many minutes. 

"I was happy they could show up and take a deserved win, which is a big step-up in terms of consistency for us.

"We also managed to get [Chilwell] back on the field, which was really nice, so overall I'm happy for a good final day."

Ralf Rangnick lamented another abject away showing from Manchester United at Crystal Palace, while he thanked Brighton and Hove Albion for helping the Red Devils to Europa League qualification.

United lost six consecutive away league matches for the first time since March 1981 after Wilfried Zaha's strike proved decisive in the 1-0 win for Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Erik ten Hag was in attendance at Selhurst Park and has much to ponder after United finished the Premier League season with a record-low points tally (58).

It was also the first time United did not end a league campaign with a positive goal difference (zero in 2021-22) for the first time since the 1989-90 season (minus-one).

However, Brighton came from behind to defeat top-six hopefuls West Ham, which meant United will be playing Europa League football next term under Ten Hag after finishing sixth in the league.

Rangnick, who will move into a consultancy role alongside his managerial job at Austria, expressed his gratitude to Graham Potter's side for overcoming David Moyes' West Ham.

"Yes, I think Brighton did us the favour to turn the game around because they were losing at half-time," he told reporters. 

"They scored three times in the second half and that was the good thing about the weekend and about this fixture.

"We would have loved to take care of ourselves but in a way the game was indicative of last couple of weeks, especially when we played away from home.

"It was a new experience for me, not necessarily coming in the middle of the season, but knowing that it would be an interim role. Unfortunately, we didn't have any pre-season and unfortunately, we couldn't strengthen the squad.

"These things happen and in hindsight, it was a little bit bittersweet or sweet bitter rather because in the first couple of weeks and months we did well.

"We collected enough points with an average of 2.1 until the game against Atletico [Madrid] but I think that defeat in the Champions League was in a way like somebody popped the balloon."

Rangnick also bemoaned United's away performance as they failed to capitalise on chances and allowed Palace to impose themselves on the contest.

"I think we had three good opportunities to score ourselves in the first half but we didn't and, especially in the first half, we had too many unforced errors and bad giveaways, that is the way we conceded the goal," he continued.

"In fact, it was our assist, the goalscorer, in the end, was Zaha but the ones who gave the assist were ourselves.

"There was a throw-in – just keep the ball into our own half – and the way we defended that shot was also not the way that you have to defend in this league and that's why we were trailing again 1-0.

"At half-time, we were trying to bring on all the young strikers we had on the bench. We had some opportunities in the second half but it was not clinical enough and that's why we lost again away from home."

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte says the club's qualification for the Champions League is like winning a trophy. 

Spurs claimed a fourth-placed finish in this season's Premier League after a resounding 5-0 win over bottom club Norwich City on Sunday.

The win was secured through Harry Kane's header and braces from Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min.

Son's double saw him claim the Premier League Golden Boot alongside Liverpool's Mohamed Salah after the pair finished with 23 goals each.  

Conte has overseen an impressive turnaround since he took over from Nuno Espirito Santo in November.

Spurs were eighth in the table then, yet a fine second half of the campaign saw them finish with 71 points – a tally that have only bettered in three previous Premier League seasons (86 in 2016-17, 77 in 2017-18 and 72 in 2012-13).

"I didn't win a trophy in this season like in the past but if I am honest to get a place in the Champions League given the difficulty with the situation in November, I have to consider it a really big achievement," he told a media conference.

"After two years Tottenham is able to play again in the Champions League. For me this is a trophy and I'm very happy.

"To become very good and to compete for something important you need to improve in many aspects. I know only one word and that's work, work, work.

"Everybody has to do the right path in this process. For sure we need to improve a lot. Next season the league will be very difficult for all of the teams."

Conte, who signed a contract until the end of the 2022-23 campaign, said he will need a few days to gather his thoughts before ensuring his ambitions are in line with those of the club's hierarchy.

"I am under contract until next summer," he added. "I signed a contract for one year and seven months. I have enjoyed a lot my time in Tottenham.

"It was a big challenge in a modern club, with a fantastic stadium and training ground and I knew the situation I would find.

"On the other hand you know I am a person who has ambition and I like to fight for something important, to lift trophies. I always said to you that at the end of the season I'd speak to the club and find the best solution.

"Now I think for me, the club and my players I think it's good to have three, four or five days of rest and then the mind will be clear and then you can consider the whole season and be calm before you speak.

"Now there are lots of emotions for me in my mind."

For a club like Milan, 11 years make for a long wait.

Let alone the enormous hierarchical changes that have taken place at Casa Milan over that period, with turbulent changes of ownership and coaches that have impacted various transformations in approach both on and off the pitch, those 11 years in European football have witnessed a seismic tactical shift.

The Rossoneri's last Serie A title in 2010-11 sits as a stark contrast to this year's title charge that ended in success, glory sealed on Sunday with a 3-0 win at Sassuolo.

In 2010-11, the Scudetto was like a perfect storm – upon Massimiliano Allegri's hiring as coach, Alexandre Pato was coming into his own before injuries started to take their toll, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva were solidifying their respective statuses as world-class footballers in their positions, amid the career tail-ends of Clarence Seedorf and Alessandro Nesta.

That Milan team was inherently reflective of its time, leaning on the likes of Ibrahimovic, Pato and Robinho to provide goals, moments and the eventual title. Despite Ibrahimovic's added contribution of 12 assists that season, their equal share of 14 league goals each was fitting. But coming into the final game of the season this weekend, Rafael Leao was the only Milan player to have scored over 10 goals.

Reflecting the totality of role that midfields at the top of European football must now characterise, Milan have effectively challenged for the Scudetto this season – and last season – without a front third it can lean on. Less diplomatically, Milan's front third has been a collection of misfit toys jumbled together as the purse strings have tightened.

Despite falling away after Christmas, it is what made last season's run so distinct, for it was ultimately volatile in the second half of the season and served as a precursor to this term. Following Ismael Bennacer and Ibrahimovic's injuries against Napoli in November 2020, Milan were performing the proverbial smash and grab on a weekly basis, on the back of Franck Kessie's penalty exploits and Theo Hernandez doing Theo Hernandez things at left-back. Their 3-2 win over Lazio coming into that Christmas was a particularly distinct example.

How has this Milan team achieved this Serie A title with a largely dysfunctional frontline in possession? How do the Rossoneri build something sustainable from it, given the Scudetto for this project has arguably come ahead of schedule, despite losing Gianluigi Donnarumma to Paris Saint-Germain, along with successive injury spells for Ibrahimovic and Simon Kjaer?

In contrast to last season, Milan have come home strongly, going undefeated since their loss in mid-January to Spezia. Following the African Cup of Nations as well as a debilitative run of injuries and Covid-19, Bennacer has finally been able to put together a consistent run of games since February. With the arguable exception of Marcelo Brozovic, the 24-year-old has re-established himself as the best midfielder in Serie A.

Along with the ever-improving Sandro Tonali, the diminutive Algerian gives Milan oxygen while taking it away from the opposition, in both attacking and defensive senses. The latter is a critical aspect for under Stefano Pioli, Milan press high up the pitch more than any team in Serie A. Among players over 500 minutes, Bennacer leads the team for combined tackles and interceptions (4.08) per 90.

Something that's particularly important is how he can compress the pitch and close off the middle for the opposition through where he wins the ball, not simply how much of it he wins. Bennacer has an innate ability to step onto the opposition's initial pass into Milan's defensive half and come out with the ball, allowing the Rossoneri to spring into transition or maintain territorial superiority.

 

 

His spatial awareness also transfers to the offensive side of the game, as an extension of the simple fact he shows for the ball to feet in areas his team-mates in midfield do not.

It unlocks his technical aptitude and sense of balance on the ball, with the ability to wriggle out of tight spots and get the team up the pitch. As a result, Bennacer (2.18) dwarfs Tonali (1.05) and Kessie (1.34) for successful dribbles per 90, while seeing more of the ball over the course of a game and in more damaging areas, with 83.9 touches per 90 in comparison to Tonali's 65.51 and Kessie's 66.63.

 

 

Meanwhile, Kessie playing a more advanced role in midfield for periods this season has not translated to a correspondent gap in chances created from open play.

Kessie - who scored against Sassuolo - leads the three with 1.05 per 90 this term, in comparison to Tonali's 0.84 and Bennacer's 0.98. Kessie's forthcoming departure for Barcelona might actually unlock Milan's best tandem in Pioli's 4-2-3-1.

With Bennacer, Milan can play through their midfield and not have to rely on the attacking force of nature at left-back that is Hernandez. His open play xG p90 of 0.11 and 1.06 chances created from open play p90 is simply eyewatering from left-back - especially in comparison to Alessandro Florenzi and Pierre Kalulu's respective 0.55 and 0.34 in the latter category.

Ultimately, amid Ibrahimovic running on fumes at 40, the members of Milan's attack have largely singular skill sets and as a sum of their parts, are still largely inflexible.

 

Players like Leao, Alexis Saelemaekers, Olivier Giroud and Junior Messias – and even Ante Rebic when available - are all necessary in some capacity on top of what they provide in defensive pressure up the pitch, but with the ball Milan are a much less flexible team in the absence of that Tonali/Bennacer tandem – something last weekend's win over Atalanta arguably only reinforced despite the result.

The need to maximise midfield balance in relation to attacking personnel is a distinct dynamic across Serie A, particularly in contrast to Juventus' diminishing power and as the arms race for forwards intensifies across the rest of the top five. Yet in a season where the Italian title winner will not break 90 points, none reflect that dynamic more than the Rossoneri.

The narrative accompanying Milan's Scudetto triumph this season will be one of a European giant being quote unquote "back". 

Their ability to maintain this level domestically in coming seasons - as well as challenging on the continent, with meek group stage exits in the Champions League like this season only being tolerable for so long among an ambitious fan base - will ultimately depend on how this relatively young team builds around Tonali and Bennacer.

For a club like Milan, 11 years make for a long wait.

Let alone the enormous hierarchical changes that have taken place at Casa Milan over that period, with turbulent changes of ownership and coaches that have impacted various transformations in approach both on and off the pitch, those 11 years in European football have witnessed a seismic tactical shift.

The Rossoneri's last Serie A title in 2010-11 sits as a stark contrast to this year's title charge that ended in success, glory sealed on Sunday with a 3-0 win at Sassuolo.

In 2010-11, the Scudetto was like a perfect storm – upon Massimiliano Allegri's hiring as coach, Alexandre Pato was coming into his own before injuries started to take their toll, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva were solidifying their respective statuses as world-class footballers in their positions, amid the career tail-ends of Clarence Seedorf and Alessandro Nesta.

That Milan team was inherently reflective of its time, leaning on the likes of Ibrahimovic, Pato and Robinho to provide goals, moments and the eventual title. Despite Ibrahimovic's added contribution of 12 assists that season, their equal share of 14 league goals each was fitting. But coming into the final game of the season this weekend, Rafael Leao was the only Milan player to have scored over 10 goals.

Reflecting the totality of role that midfields at the top of European football must now characterise, Milan have effectively challenged for the Scudetto this season – and last season – without a front third it can lean on. Less diplomatically, Milan's front third has been a collection of misfit toys jumbled together as the purse strings have tightened.

Despite falling away after Christmas, it is what made last season's run so distinct, for it was ultimately volatile in the second half of the season and served as a precursor to this term. Following Ismael Bennacer and Ibrahimovic's injuries against Napoli in November 2020, Milan were performing the proverbial smash and grab on a weekly basis, on the back of Franck Kessie's penalty exploits and Theo Hernandez doing Theo Hernandez things at left-back. Their 3-2 win over Lazio coming into that Christmas was a particularly distinct example.

How has this Milan team achieved this Serie A title with a largely dysfunctional frontline in possession? How do the Rossoneri build something sustainable from it, given the Scudetto for this project has arguably come ahead of schedule, despite losing Gianluigi Donnarumma to Paris Saint-Germain, along with successive injury spells for Ibrahimovic and Simon Kjaer?

In contrast to last season, Milan have come home strongly, going undefeated since their loss in mid-January to Spezia. Following the African Cup of Nations as well as a debilitative run of injuries and Covid-19, Bennacer has finally been able to put together a consistent run of games since February. With the arguable exception of Marcelo Brozovic, the 24-year-old has re-established himself as the best midfielder in Serie A.

Along with the ever-improving Sandro Tonali, the diminutive Algerian gives Milan oxygen while taking it away from the opposition, in both attacking and defensive senses. The latter is a critical aspect for under Stefano Pioli, Milan press high up the pitch more than any team in Serie A. Among players over 500 minutes, Bennacer leads the team for combined tackles and interceptions (4.08) per 90.

Something that's particularly important is how he can compress the pitch and close off the middle for the opposition through where he wins the ball, not simply how much of it he wins. Bennacer has an innate ability to step onto the opposition's initial pass into Milan's defensive half and come out with the ball, allowing the Rossoneri to spring into transition or maintain territorial superiority.

 

 

His spatial awareness also transfers to the offensive side of the game, as an extension of the simple fact he shows for the ball to feet in areas his team-mates in midfield do not.

It unlocks his technical aptitude and sense of balance on the ball, with the ability to wriggle out of tight spots and get the team up the pitch. As a result, Bennacer (2.18) dwarfs Tonali (1.05) and Kessie (1.34) for successful dribbles per 90, while seeing more of the ball over the course of a game and in more damaging areas, with 83.9 touches per 90 in comparison to Tonali's 65.51 and Kessie's 66.63.

 

 

Meanwhile, Kessie playing a more advanced role in midfield for periods this season has not translated to a correspondent gap in chances created from open play.

Kessie - who scored against Sassuolo - leads the three with 1.05 per 90 this term, in comparison to Tonali's 0.84 and Bennacer's 0.98. Kessie's forthcoming departure for Barcelona might actually unlock Milan's best tandem in Pioli's 4-2-3-1.

With Bennacer, Milan can play through their midfield and not have to rely on the attacking force of nature at left-back that is Hernandez. His open play xG p90 of 0.11 and 1.06 chances created from open play p90 is simply eyewatering from left-back - especially in comparison to Alessandro Florenzi and Pierre Kalulu's respective 0.55 and 0.34 in the latter category.

Ultimately, amid Ibrahimovic running on fumes at 40, the members of Milan's attack have largely singular skill sets and as a sum of their parts, are still largely inflexible.

 

Players like Leao, Alexis Saelemaekers, Olivier Giroud and Junior Messias – and even Ante Rebic when available - are all necessary in some capacity on top of what they provide in defensive pressure up the pitch, but with the ball Milan are a much less flexible team in the absence of that Tonali/Bennacer tandem – something last weekend's win over Atalanta arguably only reinforced despite the result.

The need to maximise midfield balance in relation to attacking personnel is a distinct dynamic across Serie A, particularly in contrast to Juventus' diminishing power and as the arms race for forwards intensifies across the rest of the top five. Yet in a season where the Italian title winner will not break 90 points, none reflect that dynamic more than the Rossoneri.

The narrative accompanying Milan's Scudetto triumph this season will be one of a European giant being quote unquote "back". 

Their ability to maintain this level domestically in coming seasons - as well as challenging on the continent, with meek group stage exits in the Champions League like this season only being tolerable for so long among an ambitious fan base - will ultimately depend on how this relatively young team builds around Tonali and Bennacer.

David de Gea bemoaned an abject Manchester United season as he insisted his Red Devils' team-mates who are not committed "do not have to stay".

Ralf Rangnick has failed to transform United's fortunes following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's departure in November, ending his tenure with the lowest win rate of any manager in the club's Premier League history (41.7 per cent – 10 wins from 24 games).

Erik ten Hag watched on as United fell to a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, albeit they will be playing in the Europa League next season after West Ham failed to leapfrog them on the final day.

The incoming Ten Hag will have a sizeable rebuilding task at hand after United failed to end a league campaign with a positive goal difference (zero in 2021-22) for the first time since the 1989-90 campaign (minus-one).

United also concluded their campaign with a record-low Premier League points haul (58), and De Gea vented his frustrations after the game at Selhurst Park.

"I want to forget this season and be 100 per cent ready for the next season and be positive. The best thing that happened today is the season has finished," De Gea told BBC Sport.

"It has been horrible, a very bad season in all ways, it has been very tough. It is time to rest and prepare your minds for next season.

"Ones who want to stay, stay at the club. Ones that don't want to stay, go out. You don't have to stay here.

"The new manager and staff are already looking for new players. Hopefully, they bring good ones with good character."

Unwanted Premier League-era records continued to tumble for United, who have lost six consecutive away league matches for the first time since March 1981, and De Gea is excited for new beginnings under Ten Hag next term.

"I cannot wait. I am excited for the next season, new manager, new players," he added.

"Hopefully we will improve and put Manchester United in a better position. We need to trust in the future."

Milan have been crowned as Serie A champions for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign after beating Sassuolo.

Stefano Pioli's men went into the final day of the season knowing they simply needed to avoid defeat to clinch their first Scudetto in over a decade.

The Rossoneri had established a two-point lead over rivals Inter – against whom they also held a head-to-head advantage – at the Serie A summit. 

And they made sure of their success with a 3-0 defeat of Sassuolo, thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Franck Kessie.

Milan travelled to Sassuolo having made light of a challenging run-in, winning five consecutive games to tee up their historic triumph, as they matched the Nerazzurri's tally of 19 Italian top-flight titles. Only Juventus (36) have more than the two Milanese giants. 

While Inter avoided handing the title to the Rossoneri following a hard-fought 3-1 win over Cagliari last weekend, their result against Sampdoria on the final day was ultimately immaterial as Milan made their advantage count at the end of an absorbing title race.

The Rossoneri's last title triumph came under the tutelage of Massimiliano Allegri some 11 seasons ago, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato, and Robinho each scoring 14 Serie A goals apiece as Milan finished six points clear of Inter.

Pioli's men have been able to rely on a fantastic defensive record to get them over the line, conceding just eight league goals since the turn of the year.

Indeed, 11 of Milan's 17 Serie A clean sheets this season have come in 2022, and last week's crucial 2-0 win over Atalanta marked the first time they had kept five consecutive home clean sheets in Serie A since a run of six under Carlo Ancelotti in 2002.

The Rossoneri's title win also marks the first major trophy of Pioli's coaching career, and the club's first trophy win since the 2016 Supercoppa Italiana.

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