sport

Spurs seal Europa League spot

Tottenham secured a comfortable 3-0 final-day victory against Aston Villa to ensure they will be playing Europa League football next season.

Tim Sherwood's side nailed down sixth position in the Premier League table thanks to first-half goals from Paulinho, an unfortunate Nathan Baker own goal and Emmanuel Adebayor's cool penalty.

The result kept Manchester United behind them for the first time in 24 years as they secured Europa League qualification for a fourth consecutive season.

With constant speculation over his future, it remains unclear if Sherwood will still be the man to lead the north London club into next season though.

Meanwhile, Villa finish in 15th position for the second season in a row.

Boss Paul Lambert and his players, staff and the club's supporters now find themselves in limbo until American owner Randy Lerner finally breaks his silence on his plans for the future.

Tottenham enjoyed a positive start to the contest and created the first chance in the 10th minute when Adebayor slid a pass into the near post for Harry Kane, but the young striker's shot was blocked by Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Villa were struggling to establish a foothold as Spurs continued to pile forward and in the 14th minute the hosts broke the deadlock.

Christian Eriksen's quick pass allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to feed Paulinho who saw his first shot saved but the Brazilian pounced on the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.

Paulinho should have doubled the lead a minute later as Kyle Naughton picked the ball up on the right and fed the midfielder inside the box but he skewed his shot wide with only Guzan to beat.

Villa were chasing shadows in defence as Eriksen and Sigurdsson continued to find pockets of space behind the Spurs front two.

With 35 minutes on the clock, the home side doubled their advantage as Eriksen's cross fell to Danny Rose who drove the ball to the near post and Baker, under pressure from Adebayor, turned the ball into his own net.

The home fans had barely ended their celebrations before Tottenham were in again as Eriksen played Kane through but, just as the striker was about to pull the trigger, Fabian Delph slid in to make an excellent block.

Villa's misery was compounded though two minutes later when a penalty was awarded as Sandro's long-range shot struck the lifted arm of Gabriel Agbonlahor in the area and Adebayor stepped up to convert his 14th goal of the season.

Michael Dawson could have even made it four before half-time but his header was saved by Guzan, who was perhaps the only Villa player to leave the field with any credit at half-time.

The visitors started the second period with a greater determination to shut down Tottenham's space, pressing the ball with far more intensity than they had in the first half.

Delph went close shortly before the hour as he latched on to Agbonlahor's cushioned header but drove his half-volley just wide of the post.

The match drifted into the final 10 minutes with both sides seemingly happy to play the game out as chances dried up at both ends.

One of the loudest cheers came when Sherwood gave a vocal Tottenham fan a club jacket and a place among the team coaches for the final five minutes of the match.

Spurs fans will now wait to see who will be sitting on their bench at the start of next season.