Manchester United fell short in their bid for a UEFA Europa League place next season after a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday.
United required a victory in their final game of the Barclays Premier League campaign and defeat for Tottenham Hotspur against Aston Villa to steal sixth spot, but results transpired against Ryan Giggs' men.
Tottenham Hotspur's win over Villa coupled with a share of the spoils at St Mary's Stadium means United miss out on Europe having played in continental competition for the past 23 seasons.
Juan Mata levelled for the visitors early in the second half with a sumptuous free-kick that gave Artur Boruc absolutely no chance in the Southampton goal after Rickie Lambert had broken the deadlock after 28 minutes.
Both sides pushed for a winner and were guilty of missing chances to seal all three points. The draw sees United finish the campaign in seventh, while Southampton are one position behind them.
The hosts, who named three potential FIFA World Cup hopefuls for the watching England coach Roy Hodgson to monitor from the stands, started the fixture with more attacking intent, but failed to test goalkeeper David De Gea.
Victor Wanyama was first to threaten the United goal with a low strike in the 10th minute and even Adam Lallana's flick in front of the Spanish goalkeeper was not able to find the back of the net.
Luke Shaw and Lallana both saw good chances wasted before Southampton took the lead just before the half-hour mark through Lambert, who emphatically fired past De Gea from close range after being played in by Steven Davis' neat pass.
The visitors, who left Tuesday's hero James Wilson out of their squad, only created their first sight of goal in the 34th minute as Chris Smalling met a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area, but he skewed his low shot wide.
Giggs' decision to introduce Michael Carrick at half-time had an immediate impact for the visitors as it released Mata into a more creative role. And, in the 54th minute, the Spaniard curled a glorious free-kick over the Southampton wall and into the top corner to bring United level.
United's second-half revival continued and just after the hour they should have been ahead through Darren Fletcher.
After neat build-up on the right, Smalling delivered a perfect cross to the back post where the midfielder was able to escape the attentions of Davis, but the Scot placed his free header wide from seven yards.
Danny Welbeck came close to putting United ahead in the closing minutes, but was denied by Boruc, as Southampton ended with a comfortable display.
With nine minutes remaining, Hodgson left his seat in the stands having seen his potential England players perform well and all come through the game without injury, with Lallana and Shaw both substituted to standing ovations.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "We are coming to the end of a five-year project so it's only normal that the hard work starts after tonight's celebrations.
"Tomorrow we will sit down and talk and decide everything, I still have one more season on my contract and we need to sit down with the club to work out how they will implement everything."
Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs: "It's been an experience with ups and downs. I've enjoyed it and I didn't want the second half to end. The fans were great and the players were great and I loved it.
"I will decide within the next week [what I do], the managerial situation will be sorted in the next week and I need to have a think about what I will do."
|25 Oct 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|01 Nov 2014||v Hull (A)|
|08 Nov 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|24 Nov 2014||v Aston Villa (A)|
|30 Nov 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|03 Dec 2014||v Arsenal (A)|