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Published: 21:37 | 17/5/16

Man Utd sign off with easy win

Subdued Old Trafford far from full

Manchester United signed off their Premier League campaign with a straightforward 3-1 win over Bournemouth in front of a far-from full Old Trafford.

Having been forced to watch neighbours Manchester City all-but secure the fourth and final Champions League qualification berth on Sunday as this game was cancelled due to a hoax bomb scare, Louis Van Gaal's side knew that only an improbable win by a 19-goal margin could see them leapfrog their bitter rivals.

With a point needed to move above West Ham and Southampton into fifth place, and with Bournemouth playing for nothing of consequence, the game was played at a testimonial pace at times, finally spluttering into some kind of life when half-time approached and Wayne Rooney put the hosts ahead after great work from Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

The goal finally woke the home fans from their slumber, the vast swathes of empty seats and low expectations of entertainment levels when watching Van Gaal's side from those who did turn up, combined to create a sombre atmosphere which only perked up late on.

The impressive Rashford made the points safe when he rifled home with 16 minutes remaining before substitute Ashley Young forced the ball past Adam Federici on 87 minutes after being found by Rooney.

Chris Smalling's injury-time own goal denied the hosts a clean sheet and the result saw Utd finish in fifth place and a guaranteed Europa League spot with the chance of some consolation for a hugely disappointing season coming in Saturday's FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.

However, as a few fans holding aloft banners suggested, it could be the final time Van Gaal takes charge of a game at Old Trafford.

A truly awful first half was illuminated out of nowhere by the opening goal, Rooney finishing first time from eight yards after sharp play between Juan Mata and Anthony Martial saw the latter cross the ball, Rashford dummied to allow Rooney to fire home.

Bournemouth came out quickly after the start of the second half but Utd should have had the opportunity to double their advantage on 49 minutes when another slick move saw Mata burst into the box but despite the Spaniard being clearly taken down by Steve Cook, referee was unmoved.

Carrick, possibly playing for the last time at Old Trafford in a red jersey, let fly minutes later from 35 yards and the ball deflected off Tommy Elphick past Federici but smashed against the crossbar and away to safety.

Federici began to play a bigger part in the game, pulling off smart saves from a long-range Antonio Valencia drive and then from a Mata shot; in the same period of play the yet-again ineffectual Jesse Lingaard and Smalling both sent efforts wide of the post.

The hosts finally doubled their lead on 74 minutes when Rashford, celebrating a call-up to England’s provisional 26-man squad, powered home a 14-yard drive after Valencia had headed down Rooney’s pass.

Young, on as a late replacement, grabbed the 49th goal for the club with three minutes on the clock but the last word went to the Cherries, finishing 16th in their first-ever season in the top flight, with Max Gradel’s shot deflecting off Smalling past David de Gea.

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