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United secure second place as Noble and Pogba clash

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho begrudgingly welcomed his side securing a second-place Premier League finish courtesy of their stalemate with West Ham United.

Having been blown away by rivals Manchester City, who are 19 points ahead of the chasing pack, United moved four clear of third-placed Tottenham with one game remaining to seal the merest of consolations.

United mustered their 18th clean sheet of the season and first top-flight draw of 2018, while a clash which petered out into a typical end of season affair was kept goalless by a cluster of saves from West Ham goalkeeper Adrian in the first half.

The result, however, was enough for United to secure their best league finish since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. Mourinho said: “We are the second best team in the Premier League, a fantastic competition with six teams trying to finish first.

“We came second. I am not totally happy, that is not my nature. But since the moment we felt it was impossible to finish first we had the target to finish second and it is done.”

West Ham counterpart David Moyes toasted a further point which means his charges, relegation-threatened at the time of his appointment in November, are still in with a shout of a top-half finish.

“It [retaining their Premier League status] is a big achievement for us,” said Moyes, who confirmed he will be speaking to the clubs owners next week about his future. “It has been a tough job but a really good job.

“This is a big club and there are big expectations from the supporters to they will need to improve.”

This was only the third time in 22 Premier League away fixtures against West Ham that United failed to score and they endured a frustrating opening half as Hammers goalkeeper Adrian consistently blocked their route to goal.

Adrian began his defiance by turning behind a swerving 25-yard effort from Jesse Lingard, before denying Alexis Sanchez with a parry and diverting a rebound shot from Luke Shaw onto the post with his leg.

West Ham dangerman Marko Arnautovic carried the fight to the visitors, but the half ended with Adrian again thwarting Mourinhos men as he repelled another Sanchez attempt.

The second half was less eventful and there was very little in the way of clear cut chances, with the monotony interrupted by a scuffle between Mark Noble and Paul Pogba in the final moments. The Hammers skipper appeared to lay his hands on his opponents face during the fracas. Both players were booked.

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