Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba revealed his relief after his side beat local rivals Manchester City 3-1 to prevent Pep Guardiola’s men from sealing the Premier League title on Saturday, claiming watching City celebrate would have been “like a death” for United fans.
Pogba shrugged off a turbulent season and speculation over his future by scoring twice in as many minutes just after half-time to spearhead a stunning United comeback that was completed by Chris Smalling 21 minutes from time.
Victory for City would have seen Pep Guardiola’s men crowned as champions and take a United record in the process by winning the title with six games to spare.
“If they won they are champions, for all the fans it would be like death,” said the Frenchman.
“To lose against City and to see them celebrate, I couldn’t let that happen. At half-time in the dressing room we said we have nothing to lose.”
Barring an incredible collapse, City will still win the league in the coming weeks as they hold a 13-point lead over second-placed United.
Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion are on the brink of relegation from the Premier League after a 1-1 draw against Swansea, while Stoke slipped deeper into a trouble following a 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on Saturday.
Albion were led for the first time by caretaker boss Darren Moore following Alan Pardew’s sacking last Monday, but he couldn’t mastermind a vital victory at the Hawthorns.
Although West Brom ended their eight-match losing run, it seems certain they will be playing in the Championship next season.
There was encouragement for the Baggies when Jay Rodriguez poked home in the 54th minute.
But Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, punctured any Albion optimism when he headed Swansea’s 75th minute equaliser from close-range.
West Brom remain rooted to the bottom of the table and sit 10 points from safety with only 15 points available from their final five matches.
Abraham’s goal was vital for Swansea as it kept them four points above the bottom three.
Second from bottom Stoke could be set to join West Brom in the second tier after losing at the bet365 Stadium.
Eriksen upstages Kane
Tottenham striker Harry Kane made his first start since suffering ankle ligament damage last month, but it was teammate Christian Eriksen who stole the show.
Eriksen made the breakthrough in the 52nd minute, the Dane taking Dele Alli’s pass and driving a powerful strike into the bottom corner.
Stoke equalised in the 57th minute when Hugo Lloris slammed his clearance into the stomach of Mame Biram Diouf, who blasted into the empty net.
Tottenham were back in front six minutes later when Eriksen’s free-kick flew straight in despite Kane’s claim he had the final touch.
Stoke are four points from safety with five games left, while Tottenham consolidated their grip on fourth place in the race to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are 11 points clear of fifth placed Chelsea, who host West Ham on Sunday.
Crystal Palace’s bid to beat the drop was hit by a late Josh King equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.
Luka Milivojevic struck for Palace in the 47th minute, the Serbian midfielder curling in a superb free-kick.
Bournemouth responded with a 66th minute leveller as Lys Mousset produced a fine finish just seconds after coming off the bench.
Wilfried Zaha restored Palace’s advantage with a brilliant turn and 20-yard strike in the 75th minute.
But King netted in the 89th minute to leave Palace three points above the relegation zone.
Huddersfield are four points clear of the bottom three after a 1-1 draw at 10-man Brighton.
Newcastle dented Leicester’s bid to qualify for the Europa League with a 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium.
Burnley sit seventh, six points ahead of Leicester in the battle for Europa League berths, as Sean Dyche’s side came from behind to win 2-1 at Watford.