Southampton vs. Manchester United: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Southampton vs. Manchester United: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Ian Walton/Getty Images

The end to Manchester United's troublesome 2013-14 English Premier League campaign came in the form of a 1-1 draw at St. Mary's Stadium against Southampton.

The draw, combined with Tottenham's win over Aston Villa, erased all hopes of the Red Devils playing in Europe next season. 

Adding to the club's misery, they were left to settle for a road draw to close out the season, while rival Manchester City celebrated the Premier League title on their home ground. 

United, who finished seventh in the league table with 64 points, stumbled out of the gates and let Southampton dominate the possession battle for the entirety of the first half. 

Thanks to that stranglehold in the possession battle, Southampton took the lead in the 28th minute by way of a Rickie Lambert strike.

In the build-up to the goal, Lambert and Nemanja Vidic collided and the Manchester United defender was left bloodied.

After the goal was scored, Vidic and his teammates swarmed referee Mike Dean about his decision to play on, but there was nothing the Red Devils could do about it. 

Because of a lackluster attack during the first 45 minutes, interim manager Ryan Giggs opted to bring on Michael Carrick at half-time for Shinji Kagawa in an effort to create more chances. 

United started the second half well, and in the 54th minute, they were rewarded on a Juan Mata goal. 

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Mata's free-kick was lofted perfectly over the wall and left Artur Boruc standing still as the ball floated into the right side of the net. 

The set-piece opportunity was handed to the visitors by Victor Wanyama, who committed a silly foul on Danny Welbeck. 

Manchester United did have the better of the chances in the second half after the Mata strike, but they were unable to convert on the strike that would have handed the club their 20th win of the season. 

Not qualifying for the Europa League was a blessing and a curse for the Red Devils, who now will not have to endure the rigors of Thursday night trips across the continent, and will be able to focus on the next league campaign without many distractions. 

Southampton finished in eighth place with 56 points, which is a new club record in the Premier League era. 

 

Key Grades

Juan Mata, Midfielder, Manchester United: B-

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Mata played well in the second half and his free-kick in the 54th minute showed his true class as a set-piece taker. 

The Spaniard did have a disappointing first half, but so did much of the United attack. 

 

Rickie Lambert, Forward, Southampton: B

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Lambert was a force in the attack for the Saints with five shots in his final audition for England's World Cup side.

With England manager Roy Hodgson in attendance, Lambert scored once and put three of his shots on target for the eighth-place side in the EPL. 

 

Nemanja Vidic, Defender, Manchester United: B-

In his final match in a United shirt, Vidic was the best defender on the pitch for the Red Devils, but he could not help his side win in his 300th club appearance. 

Ian Walton/Getty Images

 

Luke Shaw, Defender, Southampton: B+

The young Shaw again starred at left-back for the Saints against one of the top clubs in England. 

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Shaw kickstarted numerous moves forward in the first half as the hosts pressed for a second goal in front of their home fans.  

 

Post-Match Reaction: 

Giggs was asked about his time as interim manager of United, and he talked about his time in charge, and about what is ahead for the club: 

Meanwhile, Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino mentioned that he wants to sit down and talk with the board about a new project. 

Pochettino's name has been in the news lately because of a link to Tottenham as the potential replacement to Tim Sherwood. 

 

Follow Joe on Twitter @JTansey90. 

 

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