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The Dutchman has led the Red Devils to Carabao Cup glory and next month’s FA Cup final during a promising first season that looked certain to end in a top-four finish until a recent wobble.
But Ten Hag has righted the ship and United secured a return to European football’s top table with a game to spare as Casemiro, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford scored against toothless Chelsea.
This was a club record 16th defeat in a 38-match Premier League season for Frank Lampard’s Blues, who saw a bad early Mykhailo Mudryk miss punished by a sixth minute Casemiro header.
Further Chelsea chances went begging across the evening, including the miss by Conor Gallagher in first half stoppage time that was followed by Martial scoring.
Bruno Fernandes’ penalty and substitute Marcus Rashford’s goal – his 30th of the season in all competitions – wrapped up a victory that was only dampened by Antony’s exit on a stretcher and a late Joao Felix consolation.