Manchester United vs. Blackpool  4 - 2

Article

Stylish Blackpool go down fighting

23 May 2011 02:17

Ian Holloway was proud but deflated after Blackpool went down fighting, losing 4-2 at Manchester United to drop out of the Premier League.

Blackpool led 2-1 in the match at Old Trafford after goals from Charlie Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher cancelled out Park Ji-Sung's opener.

But champions United equalised through Anderson, before an Ian Evatt own goal and Michael Owen's strike secured victory for the home side.

Defeat means Blackpool will return to the Championship after one rollercoaster season in the top flight, with Holloway unable to hide his disappointment after coming close to an unlikely escape act.

"This is a special group down here and we're very disappointed right now," Holloway told Sky Sports.

"After taking the lead, we had started to believe we can do this. You saw the way we played, the chances we created; we've got to take those."

"But United brought on Wayne Rooney, they're used to winning and we lost out."

"That aside, we've been absolutely outstanding and it's hard to take."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson praised the efforts of Holloway and his valiant players.

"I think Blackpool have played their part," Ferguson said.

"They play attractive and attacking football. They are a loss to the Premier League."

United were presented with the Premier League trophy after the match, and Ferguson allowed his players the opportunity to celebrate before they begin preparations for the Champions League final against Barcelona next Saturday.

"This is a wonderful day," Ferguson said.

"It's when your season of hard work comes to fruition."

"I think we deserved it, the team have worked so hard as a team. I think that's what clinched it for us."

"The team has had a great work ethic, they have worked their socks off."

Article

Premier League: Manchester United 4 Blackpool 2

22 May 2011 19:45

Blackpool suffered relegation heartbreak on the final day of the season as Manchester United were presented with a record 19th title.

The Tangerines almost pulled off the impossible when they went 2-1 up at Old Trafford, but three second-half goals from the hosts condemned Ian Holloway's side to a 4-2 loss and a return to the Championship.

For United it was a stern test ahead of their Champions League final against Barcelona and was the perfect way to end the season.

Both sides had chances early in the game. Adam's low cross picked out Blackpool team-mate Keith Southern but he dragged his shot wide.

At the other end, Rafael hit a dipping half volley from 20 yards out which stung the palms of keeper Matthew Gilks.

But just when Blackpool thought they were containing the champions, United were ahead in the 21st minute when Dimitar Berbatov flicked the ball onto Park Ji-Sung running into the box and he duly put it past Gilks.

Berbatov could have increased the lead for the hosts after picking the ball up in the area and shooting at close range, but this time Gilks managed to stick a leg out to make the block.

And the Tangerines stunned Old Trafford when they equalised after 40 minutes through talisman Charlie Adam.

Nemanja Vidic fouled Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and from on the edge of the area the Blackpool skipper brilliantly curled the ball over the wall and past Edwin Van der Sar.

Straight after the break Adam almost put Blackpool ahead with another free-kick, but this time Edwin Van der Sar - playing in his last game at Old Trafford - was able to palm his rasping shot over the bar.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher offered up a lifeline when he converted a well-placed cross by Michael Vaughan with a flick into the back of the net in the 57th minute.

But United proved they were not about to go soft on the Seasiders when Anderson replied five minutes later after a neat combination with Park and a shot from 12 yards out.

Blackpool were dealt a crushing blow in the 74th minute when Chris Smalling sent a swinging cross in from the right towards Michael Owen, but defender Ian Evatt stuck a foot out and sent the ball into the back of his own net.

Owen sealed the victory after Anderson threaded a pass through Blackpool's defence and the striker placed it past Gilks.

Article

No freebies for Blackpool

18 May 2011 21:04

Ian Holloway is furious at claims Blackpool could stay up this season because they will face an under-strength Manchester United side.

Blackpool are 18th and could be safe with a win at Old Trafford on the final day of the season on Sunday - although only West Brom have taken a point there so far this season.

It has been suggested Sir Alex Ferguson's side could be punished for fielding a weakened team against Blackpool, considering they have their Champions League final clash with Barcelona six days later.

And Holloway is angry at the suggestion that Ferguson is not bothered about the match against Blackpool and also feels his side have been undermined.

"They will be relieved if we lose and get relegated," said Holloway.

"Then I am not badgering them. I am so annoyed. Sir Alex Ferguson is a winner. He would never dream of not being interested in winning any match."

"That man deserves to pick whatever team he wants to pick. No one should question it. Look at his record. Those people running the game, what planet are they on? They must have beamed down from planet Zarf. They are not in the right world."

And Holloway believes his side is capable of beating this season's Premier League champions, regardless of what team they field.

"They think we can only beat Manchester United if they are weak. What a load of baloney. Unfortunately, that is what we are dealing with," Holloway said.

"We nearly beat them when they had a full team. We were 2-0 up and should have had a penalty - that goes in and we probably win."

United fielded a weakened side against Hull City on the final day of the 2008/09 season - with the Champions League final against Barcelona in mind - yet still managed to win 1-0.

Blackpool could stay up even if they lose at Old Trafford, as a heavy defeat for Birmingham at Tottenham would mean relegation Alex McLeish's men on goal difference.

Blackpool have no fresh injury concerns for the trip to Old Trafford, with Chris Basham (broken leg) and David Carney (shoulder) remain sidelined.

Article

Neville farewells Old Trafford in style

9 April 2011 11:51

Manchester United will play Juventus in a testimonial game for Gary Neville at Old Trafford on May 24.

Neville, 36, announced his retirement on February 2 after enjoying a 602-game, 18-year career with United.

Neville, who made his senior debut against Torpedo Moscow in a UEFA Cup tie in 1992 aged 17, and was part of the side that won eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and the Champions League in 1999, is touched by the gesture from the club.

"I am delighted to be given this game by the club, it is going to be a very emotional night, especially as I pull on that red shirt once more," Neville said."I intend to savour every moment and I hope the fans can share in my special night."

The right-back, who has been capped 85 times for England, has pledged to donate the match proceeds to community projects and supporter initiatives in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Neville retired after a series of injuries had affected his performances; and his last competitive match was on January 1 in the 2-1 Premier League win against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +41 80
2 38 +36 71
3 38 +27 71
4 38 +29 68
5 38 +9 62
6 38 +15 58
7 38 +6 54
8 38 +6 49
9 38 -11 48
10 38 -11 47
11 38 -15 47
12 38 -1 46
13 38 -2 46
14 38 -4 46
15 38 -13 43
16 38 -21 42
17 38 -20 40
18 38 -21 39
19 38 -23 39
20 38 -27 33