Manchester United vs. Swansea City  2 - 1

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United savour title win with bus parade

14 May 2013 02:12

Manchester United's players and staff were joined by thousands of supporters in a victory parade on Sunday to celebrate their 20th league title.

Fans gathered on the streets around the club's Old Trafford stadium to not only mark their Premier League crown but to commemorate the reign of retiring manager Alex Ferguson.

The Scot, who has decided to retire at the age of 71, enjoyed 26 trophy-laden years in Manchester.

After leaving the ground, the open-top bus tour travelled towards the city centre and arrived at Albert Square, where the playing staff and management were joined by more fans.

Supporters lined every part of the route from the stadium to the square, climbing lamp posts, landmarks and rooftops to get a view of the players.

United striker Wayne Rooney, who has states his desire to seek a transfer away from Old Trafford, joined the celebrations and received a mixed reception from the fans who lined the parade's route.

Ferguson revealed after the game against Swansea on Sunday that the 27-year-old had handed in a transfer request.

Article

Premier League: Manchester United 2 Swansea 1

12 May 2013 19:16

Rio Ferdinand's late winner ensured Alex Ferguson's final match in charge at Old Trafford ended in victory for Manchester United.

The Premier League champions put in an impressive display in the first half and led thanks to Javier Hernandez, but Swansea were immensely improved after half-time and a Michu strike looked to have secured a point for the visitors, only for Ferdinand to hit an 87th-minute winner.

Given United's record under Ferguson of scoring late goals that decide crucial games, it was a fitting way for the Scot to bow out on home soil.

Ferguson's side included seven changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Chelsea last weekend as Paul Scholes started his final match at Old Trafford before he joins his manager in retirement, but the biggest surprise of all was Wayne Rooney's exclusion from the United squad. Michael Laudrup made five changes from the win over Wigan in midweek.

The home side came close to opening the scoring inside the first five minutes as Robin van Persie played Hernandez into the penalty area and the Mexican hit a left-footed shot on to the crossbar, while he had a header deflected wide by Chico Flores 10 minutes later.

United dominated the early proceedings as Hernandez, Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa linked up effortlessly, but at the other end of the pitch the interchanging between Pablo Hernandez, Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge proved less effective as David De Gea remained untested.

The lack of attacking problems being posed by Swansea meant Patrice Evra was able to get himself into the visitors' penalty area on numerous occasions, and after out-muscling Dwight Tiendalli on the left side of the box, he managed to get a shot on target, but Gerhard Tremmel saved the Frenchman’s tame effort at the near post.

Ferguson’s team continued to be the only side that looked like scoring and they should have been awarded a penalty for a foul on Kagawa, but, with six minutes left of the first half, the ball broke kindly for Hernandez in the area after Ashley Williams’ failed clearance and he placed the ball under Tremmel to give United the lead.

Swansea began the second half with significantly more attacking intent and after United failed to clear a corner, Michu equalised in the 49th minute as he beat Phil Jones to Dyer's right-wing cross and directed it past De Gea with the outside of his left foot.

United's awful start to the half almost got even worse three minutes later as Routledge exchanged quick passes with Michu, outpaced Ferdinand and burst into the penalty area, but he poked a shot just wide of De Gea's left-hand post.

The home side looked to have improved defensively following the poor start to the second period, but around the hour mark Pablo should have doubled Swansea’s lead as he beat Nemanja Vidic twice in the area before shooting, but De Gea made the save at the near post.

With time running out, Anderson and Antonio Valencia came on for the champions just prior to the 70th minute and the Brazilian midfielder went close to having an immediate impact as he smashed a volley a few inches wide of Tremmel's left post.

As the match entered the final 10 minutes, a Swansea winner looked increasingly likely, but when a Van Persie corner cleared everyone in the visitors' penalty area, Ferdinand held his nerve and hammered a half-volley into the top of the net from six yards out, gifting Ferguson the perfect way to end his tenure at Old Trafford.

Article

Ferguson confirms Rooney transfer request

12 May 2013 16:48

Retiring Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has confirmed Wayne Rooney wants to leave Old Trafford after handing in a transfer request.

Reports had claimed that the England forward had asked to leave the club but Rooney, his representatives and the club had previously refused to confirm those stories until Ferguson spoke out during a post-match interview following the 2-1 win over Swansea.

Rooney was absent from the squad for the match - Ferguson's final fixture at Old Trafford - and afterwards the United manager told Sky Sports: "I don't think Wayne was keen to play simply because he's asked for a transfer.

"I think he wants to think things through in his mind; I think that's a good idea.

"We're not going to let him go. I think he's maybe a bit frustrated that he's been taken off once or twice in the last few weeks."

Following their victory over Swansea, United were presented with the Premier League trophy, but some sections of the crowd jeered Rooney as he came forward to collect his medal before shaking Ferguson's hand.

Veteran United midfielder Paul Scholes, however, did start the match, with the 38-year-old making his final home appearance after he also confirmed that he would be retiring for a second time at the end of the season.

Article

Mourinho emotional at Ferguson retirement

11 May 2013 01:22

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho says he was devastated to hear the news that Sir Alex Ferguson was retiring as Manchester United manager.

The former Porto, Chelsea and Inter boss revealed the United legend and called him personally to inform him of the decision, and also said he had told Ferguson where his next managerial job would be.

Mourinho said he was saddened to hear the Scot's 26-year reign at Old Trafford was coming to an end and admitted fielding a team against the Premier League champions will never feel the same again.

"When Sir Alex called me to give me the honour of knowing from him his decision, I was surprised and sad," he said in an interview with Sky Sports.

"It will be difficult for me, and I think all managers, to go to Old Trafford and play against Manchester United without this mythical figure waiting for us.

"At the same time, I was happy to feel his emotion, and pride for such an amazing career.”

United face Swansea City on Sunday in what will be Ferguson's last home game in charge of the club but Mourinho said he would be too emotional to watch the match.

When asked if he would take in the game, he said: "No, certainly not - no, I don't want to cry!"

Mourinho, who himself had been linked with taking over at Old Trafford, went on to endorse David Moyes, who has signed a six-year contract with the Red Devils.

"I think David is a great choice,” added the Portuguese coach.

“I like him as a person; I like his character as a manager. I believe Manchester United will support him, I think he has the qualities to do a good job.

"I wish Sir Alex a happy life, and I wish David a successful career at Old Trafford."

Talking about his own future, Mourinho said he had informed Ferguson about where his next destination in management will be.

"We are good friends, and my good friends know which club I would like to manage when I finish my work at Real Madrid."

Article

Laudrup targets eighth-place finish

10 May 2013 17:25

Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup believes an eighth-place Premier League finish would represent an "incredible" achievement for the club.

Laudrup's side currently sit in ninth place after an impressive season which also saw them life the Capital One Cup at Wembley.

Now, the Dane wants his side to finish well but feels the pressure will be off when they travel to Old Trafford on Sunday after their 3-2 win over Wigan in midweek.

"There is absolutely no pressure on us following the victory over Wigan - it was very important for us," the Swansea manager said.

"Even through the bad run we remained ninth and we can now look forward to the final two games and even have a chance of finishing eighth after winning a trophy."

"If we can achieve that then it will be incredible for this club."

Sunday's game will be the last at Old Trafford for Alex Ferguson, who announced his retirement on Wednesday, and Laudrup feels the Scot's players will give everything for their outgoing manager.

"For us, Sunday’s game is one where we’ll try to do our best. We have everything to win, and nothing to lose," he said.

"Their players will want to give Sir Alex the best leaving present, and it will be a difficult game for us. We’ll try and get something but even so we’ll still have a great opportunity to finish in the top half of the table."

Laudrup said Swansea would be without Michu for the game against the champions, while there are also question marks over the fitness of Chico and Angel Rangel.

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Premier League Preview: Manchester United v Swansea

10 May 2013 11:22

Alex Ferguson will take charge of Manchester United for the last time at Old Trafford when Swansea City are the visitors on Sunday.

The 71-year-old announced on Wednesday that he will step down as manager at the end of the season, with David Moyes coming in to replace him in July, when his contract at Everton expires.

Ferguson has won 38 trophies during over 26 years in charge of United, including this season’s Premier League trophy - an achievement which the club will certainly honour this weekend.

He said: "The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time. It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so.

"The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level."

United will want to end the season and Ferguson’s reign on a high, especially after their 1-1 draw at Arsenal and 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea last Sunday.

Rafael da Silva is suspended until the second game of next season after he was shown a straight red card for kicking out at fellow Brazilian David Luiz in the defeat to Rafael Benitez's side.

Danny Welbeck is not expected to feature against Swansea due to a knee problem, while Ashley Young has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign with an ankle injury.

Swansea have the unenviable task of facing United on such a landmark occasion, but go into the match on the back of a 3-2 win at relegation-threatened Wigan.

Michael Laudrup's side came from behind twice on Tuesday before Dwight Tiendalli snatched the winner in the 76th minute to damage Wigan’s hopes of survival.

First-choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm clashed heads with team-mate Ben Davies five minutes from time and had to be carried off on a stretcher.

However, the Netherlands international may be fit to start against United as Laudrup eased concerns about the injury following the game.

The Swansea boss said: "He seems okay. He was a little dizzy but knows what happened.

"I think we'll have to wait to see if he's 100 percent."

Laudrup is likely to be without talismanic attacker Michu for the rest of the season due to a hamstring injury, while Chico Flores (arm) and Ki Sung-Yueng (dead leg) will face late fitness tests ahead of the clash.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25