Carlo Ancelotti was unbothered by Real Madrid's failed attempt to defend a three-goal lead against Villarreal, instead focusing on avoiding injuries and keeping their rhythm.

A double from Arda Guler, as well as goals from Joselu and Lucas Vazquez, had Madrid in control at 4-1 up away to Villarreal on Sunday.

Yet Alexander Sorloth, who pulled a goal back earlier on, managed three goals in eight minutes to salvage a 4-4 draw for the hosts against the LaLiga champions.

Despite faltering to a late comeback, Ancelotti was more than pleased with his side's efforts, ahead of the upcoming Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund on June 1 at Wembley Stadium.

"The target was not the points because we don't need them, the target was to play a good game with rhythm, intensity, avoiding injuries. Everything went perfectly," he told a post-match press conference.

"I'm not worried ahead of the Champions League final, this was an open game.

"Maybe we conceded more goals than necessary but that's okay, it doesn't change anything about what the final has to be. In attack, we played well."

Villarreal are set to finish eighth in the LaLiga table, unable to be caught by any team below and incapable of reaching seventh-placed Real Betis.

Sorloth may end with an individual award, though, after scoring his league-leading 23rd goal of the season with the fourth of his quartet of strikes.

"It was a match with a lot of goals, the kind that the fans like," Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno, who provided three assists, told Movistar. 

"I'll take the reaction in the second half. We will try to go to Europe next year.

"I hope Sorloth ends up top scorer. He's a fantastic teammate. He deserves it. We're going to try to help him. He's had an incredible season."

An emotional Pep Guardiola offered his sincerest thanks to Jurgen Klopp for pushing Manchester City to new heights after their relentless Premier League battle with Liverpool.

Klopp's Reds are the only side to have stopped Man City from winning the top-flight title in the last seven seasons, with Liverpool taking the crown in 2019-20.

For all of the Liverpool and City rivalry, there has remained a mutual respect between Guardiola and Klopp, who faced off during their time with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund respectively as well.

Ahead of Klopp's departure from Anfield, the German labelled Guardiola as "the best manager in the world", suggesting no one else could achieve four straight titles with the City side that Guardiola managed.

After lifting a record-breaking fourth consecutive Premier League trophy following Sunday's 3-1 victory over West Ham, Guardiola was moved to tears when asked about Klopp.

"I will miss him a lot," he said as his voice wavered. "Jurgen has been a really important part of my life. He brought me to another level as a manager. We respect each other incredibly.

"I have the feeling he will be back and thank you so much for his words but he knows that behind me there is a lot that this club provides me with, otherwise alone I can't do it. I'm humble enough to understand that.

"He helps me with his team, he has been a huge competitor in my life. I didn't discover the way I can punish them like I can find for other teams. With him it has been so difficult."

City became the first team in English top-flight history to win the title in four consecutive seasons, having won the league in 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.

The Citizens pipped Arsenal, whose win over Everton mattered for little on the final day, as Guardiola's former colleague Mikel Arteta continues to impress with the Gunners.

Guardiola referenced fellow Spaniard Arteta as he continued in his praise for Liverpool's Klopp, who enjoyed an emotional farewell at Anfield after the Reds' 2-0 victory over Wolves.

"I'm pretty sure Mikel [Arteta] will continue his legacy to drive us to another level," the Man City manager continued. I wish him all the best and hope his final game was special, he deserved it.

"He made Liverpool recognised with his stamp, and the incredible pride of being a Liverpool fan.

"It's not just about titles, there are personalities that when they arrive in one place they stay forever and Jurgen and Liverpool will be part of the level of [Bill] Shankly and [Bob] Paisley and these incredible legends."

Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea finishing in the European spots is "the first step" to restoring the club back to its former glories.

A 2-1 win over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in the final game of the campaign ensured that Chelsea would be playing European football next season with a sixth-placed finish.

The Blues are guaranteed at least a Europa Conference League spot. However, should Manchester City beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final next Saturday, Chelsea will play in the Europa League instead.

Pochettino feels this is just the beginning as the club looks to return to the upper echelons of European football.

"For the history of Chelsea, it is hard to celebrate," Pochettino told Sky Sports. "But it is the first step to achieve bigger things after.

"We are really close. Season by season it is about improving. We know how we need to compete next season. We have a young squad but with more experience in the Premier League now."

Chelsea lost just one of their last 15 Premier League games of the season, winning the last five as they made a late charge into the European places.

Pochettino is proud of how his team performed at the conclusion of the campaign, saying: "We played against a team [Bournemouth] in a very good run and who also had the whole week to prepare.

"I think the way we played and created chances, we had the chances to score more goals.

"I am so happy with the run in the last part of the season. Credit to the players, and that is how we want to compete."

There has been much discussion over Pochettino's future, with the former Tottenham boss' job reportedly at risk despite the strong end to the season.

When asked about his future at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino replied: "That is a question for the owners and the sporting director."

Andy Robertson says Liverpool "cannot thank Jurgen Klopp enough" while Virgil van Dijk was lost for words as the German signed off on an emotional day at Anfield.

Klopp oversaw a 2-0 victory over Wolves in his final game in charge of the Reds, who celebrated their much-loved boss.

The Anfield crowd filled up earlier than normal before kick-off to serenade the German, who leaves with a Premier League crown and Champions League glory to his name, and those tributes continued throughout Sunday's victory.

Two of those came from players he brought to the club and went on to play a crucial role in his side's success during just under nine years at the helm.

"We can't thank Jurgen Klopp enough and all the players could do today was try to win for him, and we managed to send him off on a high," Robertson told PLP.

"Every time he stood up, he would have got a massive cheer. He tried to take the limelight off him and it just wasn't possible. What he's done for the club is magnificent. We have a lot to be grateful for and thankful for. 

"He gave me a chance at Liverpool, signed me, made me the player I am and helped me win trophies. He's improved all of us as people. That's what we're all grateful for. He always took time for our families and for us. That's what we'll miss the most.

He's done amazing at this club. I think he needs to get off in the sun, have a beer in his hand and have a well-deserved rest.

"We wanted to send him off like we have, but of course, there's a new era upon us. We're all excited and we have to be. We need to be on board.

"We will be ready to get on board with the new manager and help him as much as we can. This club demands success. We're excited for the new challenge."

"I've got no words, it's a very emotional day," skipper Van Dijk added on Sky Sports. "Liverpool is Liverpool. It's special and you see that today.

"It was always going to be a tough afternoon for everyone for different reasons, of course."

Girona secured their highest ever finish of third in La Liga with a 3-1 win away at Valencia on Sunday.

Having already clinched Champions League football for the first time in club history, Girona took the lead at the Mestalla through Savio with 32 minutes played.

Artem Dovbyk doubled his side's advantage close to the hour mark, before an own-goal from Yarek Gasiorowski made it 3-0 with 23 minutes left.

Pepelu netted from the spot for the hosts, but it only proved a consolation as Valencia failed to win for the sixth straight game, while Girona ensured third spot thanks to their victory and fourth-placed Atletico Madrid's 4-1 home defeat to Osasuna.

Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 3-0 in their final home game of the season on Sunday to secure second place in LaLiga.

An early Robert Lewandowski goal and a quick-fire double from Pedri got the job done for the Blaugrana.

The result moved Barcelona to 82 points, four points above Girona, who won 3-1 away at Valencia.

Champions Real Madrid are 12 points above Barca with one more round of games left.

Barca took the lead in the third minute when Lamine Yamal, on his 50th appearance, cut in from the right wing and chipped the ball to Lewandowski, who expertly controlled the pass with his chest and volleyed home.

Although Rayo had their chances to level, Barcelona doubled their lead with some magical footwork from Joao Felix who saw his shot saved but Pedri managed to score from the rebound to give the home side a two-goal cushion.

Barely three minutes later, Pedri spotted a gap in Rayo's high defensive line and he was put through on goal with a long ball from centre-back Ronald Araujo, allowing the 21-year-old to fire home and double his goal tally for the season.

Barca will finish their season away at Sevilla next weekend while Rayo, who are 16th, host Athletic Bilbao.

Data Debrief: Lewy hits 25, again

Lewandowski has now scored 25 goals in all competitions this season.

He has netted at least 25 times in all competitions in each of the last 11 seasons, three campaigns more than any other player in top five European leagues over that period.

Villarreal forward Alexander Sorloth struck four times in 17 minutes to help his side fight back and snatch a 4-4 home draw against LaLiga champions Real Madrid on Sunday.

Madrid opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Turkey youngster Arda Guler slotted home a low strike off a Brahim Diaz pass before Joselu doubled the lead with a close-range header on the half-hour mark.

Sorloth pulled one back for Villarreal with a towering header in the 39th minute, but Lucas Vazquez restored Madrid's two-goal advantage a minute later, before Guler made it 4-1 in the final seconds of the first half.

But the hosts rallied after the break, with Sorloth scoring three goals in eight minutes, between the 48th and 56th minutes, as he reached 23 league goals this season to take LaLiga's Golden Boot award.

A second-half collapse will frustrate Carlo Ancelotti in the final league game of the season, with a Champions League final to come against Borussia Dortmund on June 1, but Madrid still achieved another record here.

Los Blancos surpassed the best unbeaten run in their entire LaLiga history after making it 31 games undefeated, eclipsing the previous record set between May 1988 and April 1989 with Leo Beenhakker as coach.

Data Debrief: Shot-heavy Sorloth delivers

Sorloth attempted nine shots in this game, the joint-highest total for a player in LaLiga this season, but those efforts paid dividends for his eye-catching four-goal haul.

He had played five games against Madrid and failed to score in all of them before this, against no other opponent has he played more games without scoring in the competition, but delivered emphatically here.

Raul Garcia scored in each half as Osasuna secured their first win at Atletico Madrid since 2009, beating the hosts 4-1 in LaLiga on Sunday and handing them their second home loss of the league campaign.

The visitors scored in the 26th minute when Alejandro Catena headed it down inside the box for Garcia to score.

Osasuna doubled their lead in the 52nd minute with Atletico keeper Jan Oblak's block falling to substitute Aimar Oroz for a close-range finish.

Atletico struck back three minutes later with substitute Alvaro Morata scoring off Angel Correa's cross from the left.

But Garcia restored Osasuna's two-goal cushion in the 64th minute, before Lucas Torro sealed the victory, hammering home with his right foot in the 88th.

Osasuna's first win in seven matches lifted them to 11th place in the league with 44 points from 37 matches. Atletico, who have 73 points, will finish fourth after falling five points behind third-placed Girona.

Data Debrief: Difference in finishing proves decisive

Atletico managed 14 shots on goal, compared to Osasuna's total of 15, the expected goals battle was also close (1.72 v 1.84) and the hosts edged the possession count with 56.7%.

But clinical finishing from Osasuna was the difference, with six of their shots finding the target and four of them beating home goalkeeper Oblak.

Atletico, meanwhile, only had one other attempt on target apart from Morata's goal. Griezmann (four), Samuel Lino, Rodrigo De Paul and Correa (all two) combined for 10 attempts, with only one of those working Sergio Herrera in the Osasuna goal.

 

 

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool are "ahead of schedule" after suggesting their third-placed finish in the Premier League marks a "statement" in a challenging competition.

Reds manager Klopp took charge of his final game with Liverpool in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Wolves, with Alexis Mac Allister and Jarell Quansah both on target in the first half at Anfield.

Liverpool threatened a title challenge midway through this campaign but fell away from contention alongside Arsenal and eventual winners Manchester City, settling for Champions League football next term.

Klopp refuted suggestions Liverpool need a significant "overhaul" as Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot prepares to start his tenure at Anfield next season.

"I'm sure you will all agree there does not need to be an overhaul," the departing Liverpool manager told Sky Sports after his emotional farewell on the pitch.

"We finished third. We were ahead of schedule. It's a statement in this strong league and I'm absolutely fine with that."

Klopp announced his intentions to leave back in January, with Sunday marking a memorable goodbye for the former Borussia Dortmund head coach.

"I thought it might be more sad in the beginning but when people realise, it's all good," he continued.

"If I carry on, these guys and others will say 'he's been there too long'. You have to be the spark. I love the squad. There is so much potential. They will make changes here and there.

"There has been such a long lead-up to this day and it was really intense. I had my bad moments as well but thank God, not today.

"I'm just thankful for what has happened, when you are in it, you forget sometimes how great it is. You take it for granted.

"Now I stand here, I'm just so happy I'm a part of the club's history. It's wonderful."

Klopp believes he leaves Liverpool having played the most entertaining football, even if his tenure ended with fewer trophies than some seasons merited due to the brilliance of Pep Guardiola's Man City.

"It's so super special that it's difficult to explain," Klopp added. "We live in a world where it's all about results for others.

"We learn that not getting absolutely everything is fine. It's such a massive lesson for life. It's not about that, it's about the journey and the togetherness and that's what I love. Things might not always go perfect.

"The other clubs, with the most money and the best managers, they win it. We didn't have the best manager and never had the best team but for a while we played the best football and I love that.

"We are a rock-solid club and don't overspend. People say 'you didn't spend enough.' What the heck do you want? I just understand this from the Liverpool way."

Jack Grealish has revealed he struggled away from the pitch this season, thanking Pep Guardiola for his support after Manchester City retained their Premier League title.

City clinched an unprecedented fourth straight title on Sunday, finishing two points clear of Arsenal at the summit as Phil Foden scored twice in a 3-1 win over West Ham.

Guardiola has now joined Alex Ferguson (13), George Ramsay and Bob Paisley (six each) as one of four managers with at least six English top-flight titles.

Grealish has been present for the last three of those triumphs, though his form in 2023-24 was down on a bright 2022-23 campaign, when he scored five goals and added seven assists in 28 league matches.

The England international only registered four Premier League goal involvements (three goals, one assist) this term, being limited to just 10 starts by fitness issues and poor form.

Speaking to Sky Sports after Sunday's trophy presentation, Grealish said of Guardiola: "He's an unbelievable guy. 

"I've had times this season that I've struggled off the pitch, I don't mind saying that, and he's been there for me so much. 

"He's a brilliant manager on the pitch but behind closed doors and in his office, he's helped me too.

"I'm so proud of some of these guys and happy for them. People like [Mateo] Kovacic, what a brilliant guy.

"He's played every minute in the last few weeks and then today he doesn't, and he took it so well. I'm so proud."

Reflecting on his own performances, Grealish added: "I don't feel like I've performed well this season at all. I performed better this year than my first year. 

"That first year I just wanted to win no matter what. Last year I played more, and this season has been stop-start. I played well in points.

"My standards are high so I feel like I could've played more in some games. I wanted to play as much as I could like last season. 

"We have so many good players here so it's difficult. There's no team in the world that rotates like this team does but that's the beauty of it."

Rob Edwards paid tribute to "special club" Luton Town after the Hatters' relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on the final day.

Luton's brief but eventful stint in the top flight came to an end following a 4-2 defeat by Fulham at Kenilworth Road, with Edwards' side finishing 18th and six points adrift of 17th-place Nottingham Forest. 

Last-day survival was always going to be a big ask for the Hatters, who needed a victory and an ambitious 12-goal swing to stand any chance of usurping Forest.

Luton have gained many new admirers with their tally of 52 goals the second-most by a side during a 20-team Premier League season in which they were relegated - after Blackpool's 55 in 2010-11.

However, a leaky defence proved to be their undoing as they conceded 85 times - their highest tally in a top-flight campaign.

Nevertheless, Edwards saluted the club's supporters, and believes his side have a solid foundation to build on next season in their quest for an immediate return from the Championship.

"We're a special club, we've got unique support. We've had that all season long," he told Match of the Day. "Everyone that's travelled has shown their best. We've given our best this year, and ultimately we've just come up short.

"If one game could almost tell a season's story, that would be today - full of endeavour, some really good quality at times as well, but a little bit too fragile.

"We've scored a lot of goals this year. We've been good to watch, we've been involved in loads of great games, but we've conceded too many. That balance is something that we've got to try to address, and we know where we need to keep improving.

"We have changed and evolved so much. There is a lot of good stuff we can take to attack the Championship next season. We work hard, we give absolutely everything. We just have to be us, go and be Luton."

Pep Guardiola says there is a greater chance of him leaving Manchester City than staying, despite the Spaniard wanting to continue in charge after Sunday's Premier League title triumph.

City manager Guardiola offered a cryptic description over his future after his side lifted their fourth successive top-flight trophy following the 3-1 victory over West Ham at Etihad Stadium.

That success marked Guardiola's sixth Premier League title, with only Alex Ferguson (13) managing more in the competition's history, though speculation persists over his future.

When pressed on his plans by Sky Sports after the title celebrations, Guardiola said:  "The reality is I am closer to leaving than staying.

"We have talked with the club – my feeling is that I want to stay now. I will stay next season and during the season we will talk, but eight or nine years – we will see."

City ended the season after going 35 matches unbeaten in all competitions (W29 D6), the longest run ever by a Premier League team, as they broke further records with this triumph.

Guardiola's side are the first team in English top-flight history to win the title in four consecutive seasons, having won the league in 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Yet the former Barcelona boss says credit must be shared for City's title-winning heroics.

"A lot of work, I'm not saying I'm a bad manager but I have incredible support from the club," he added.

"We have this work ethic, everyone does their job and every department is so important. This is the truth and the reality."

City once again pipped Arsenal, whose final-day victory over Everton proved meaningless, to the title – just as they did last season in a battle with Mikel Arteta's side.

Guardiola warned Arsenal are a side on an upward trajectory, though, as Arteta continues to excite with his youthful Gunners.

"For Arsenal to push us to another level – before it was Liverpool – and the last two seasons it's been Arsenal," Guardiola continued. 

"This one has been incredible. We get the message, we know they will be there for many years.

"They have a young manager with big talent – they sent us a message that you have to be careful for the next few years.

"When I moved here if someone had said I would win six leagues in seven seasons I would say you're insane – no way.

"All these players for Manchester United and Liverpool and Chelsea, all these teams. Now is our period, we are part of that."

Erik ten Hag conceded Manchester United's season was "not good enough by far" after the Red Devils recorded their lowest Premier League finish in eighth place.

United concluded their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, with second-half goals from Diogo Dalot and Rasmus Hojlund sealing the points at the American Express Stadium.

Nevertheless, Ten Hag's side finished three points behind sixth-placed Chelsea and will subsequently miss out on European football for the first time in 10 years, unless they beat Manchester City in next week's FA Cup final.

And the Dutchman, who insisted his players "will fight for the cup" at Wembley, pulled no punches in his assessment of United's season.

"It is not good enough by far," he told Match of the Day. "Although we had less than 60 points two years ago [58 points in 2021-22], eighth is the worst performance. We should have done better.

"We know the reasons behind it, but it is not the right moment to go into it. It’s not good enough."

On the win over Brighton, he added: "The first half was too static. We changed something at half-time, and after that we had more control. 

"We had a lot of problems defending Joao Pedro in the first half, but then we had more control, and we were better on the ball. In the end, the win is OK."

Kai Havertz believes Arsenal deserve more after they were pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City.

Arsenal knew they needed to beat Everton in the final game of the season and hope City slipped up at home to West Ham, but though Havertz netted an 89th-minute winner to see off the Toffees 2-1, Pep Guardiola's men ran out 3-1 victors over the Hammers.

City claim a fourth straight Premier League title, while Arsenal finish second again having also finished runners-up last season.

Havertz was left disappointed after the game, believing Arsenal's efforts throughout the campaign warranted a first Premier League crown in 20 years.

Havertz told TNT Sports "What can I say? I feel sorry for all the Arsenal fans. We gave our best but it wasn't enough.

"Maybe in two or three months we can say it was a good fight. Right now, I feel like we deserve more. It wasn't enough in the end but we go again next year."

Havertz's goal against Everton was his 13th of the league campaign, with no German scoring more in a 20-team Premier League season.

After a tough start to life in an Arsenal shirt since joining from Chelsea, Havertz has enjoyed a strong end to the campaign.

Havertz was proud of his and his team-mates' efforts, saying: "We showed great character again, they [Everton] didn't make it easy for us. They took time with every throw and every ball. In my opinion it's sometimes not fair in football but we have to accept that football is hard.

"Hopefully we can go again next year and give Arsenal fans what they need and what they're all here for."

When asked if he had a message for Gunners fans, Havertz stated: "Right now, I can't even think. It's just so frustrating. It's tough.

"I can tell them next year that we're going to be an even better team and we're going to give everything again. That's all I can say."

A late header from Denzel Dumfries earned Serie A champions Inter a 1-1 home draw against Lazio after Daichi Kamada gave the visitors a first-half lead.

Inter have 93 points, while Lazio are in seventh place on 60 with one match to play. 

Lazio are level on points with sixth-placed rivals Roma, who are set to play against Genoa later on Sunday.

Kamada broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 32nd minute with a well-placed low shot into the corner from just outside the box, after each of the sides had several chances.

Both teams continued to attack after the break, with Dumfries beating his marker at the far post to head in the equaliser from a free kick in the 87th minute.

Data Debrief: Inter worthy of late leveller

A defeat would have been harsh on Inter, who generated a higher xG (1.58 vs 0.6) and had 19 shots compared to just eight from Lazio.

But Inter have now drawn three of their last five Serie A home games, which is as many draws as they had in their previous 49 home matches in the competition.

This game also saw Lazio's Felipe Anderson come off the bench to play his 250th match in Serie A.

Page 8 of 1563
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.