x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Wolverhampton Wanderers relegated as Manchester City close gap

Mouth-watering derby set up after United's draw with Everton, Roy Hodgson returns to haunt Anfield and Kenny Dalglish.

Manchester City's Carlos Tevez, centre, takes the ball past Wolverhampton Wanderers' Richard Stearman.
Manchester City's Carlos Tevez, centre, takes the ball past Wolverhampton Wanderers' Richard Stearman.

Joe Hart, the Manchester City goalkeeper, acknowledged his side finished yesterday in a healthy position after they closed the gap on the leaders Manchester United to three points and doomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to relegation with victory in the Premier League clash at Molineux.

Roberto Mancini's side capitalised on the title lifeline handed to them via United's pulsating 4-4 home draw with Everton earlier in the afternoon.

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri sealed the win for the visitors, who now have their fate back in their own hands ahead of next Monday's derby with United.

Hart told Sky Sports 1: "We are really focused on finishing a very good season and we have given ourselves a really good chance here.

"Commiserations to Wolves going down today but we've done our job.

"The [outlook is] a lot better than at the start of the day

"We are excited, we feel ready, we are firing goals in."

City's former Wolves defender Joleon Lescott added: "We knew Wolves would give it 100 per cent.

"I'm a City player now and it was more important to get three points."

Roberto Mancini played down his side's title chances and pointed to their three remaining games are against United, Newcastle and QPR.

He told Sky Sports 1: "I am pleased with this form but now we have three very difficult games, it could not be more difficult. We are there - I think they have a bigger chance, more than us in this moment. But we have another chance."

Terry Connor, the Wolves manager, was clearly upset and holding back the tears in his post-match interview.

Connor replaced Mick McCarthy at the helm at Molineux but in his time in charge the team have failed to win and relegation was confirmed yesterday.

He told Sky Sports 1: "It's tough - a raw day.

"We knew coming in we had to try and win it - it is raw for the players, staff, supporters and everyone connected to Wolves. It probably will be for a few days."

Of the fans, he added: "They were superb today and for the majority of the season they've been great."

Roy Hodgson, the West Bromwich Albion head coach, thanked the Liverpool fans for the reception he was afforded during his team’s smash-and-grab 1-0 win on his return to Anfield.

Peter Odemwingie’s goal 15 minutes from time earned the Baggies three points – their first win at Liverpool for 45 years – on Hodgson’s first return to the ground since being dismissed in January 2011 after a disappointing six months in charge.

Hodgson told Sky Sports News: “It really was a magnificent rearguard action and the other great satisfaction for me today, of course, was the support I got from both sets of fans.

“I was a bit concerned coming back here. Everyone said ‘you’ll get a decent reception’ and I was really pleased they treated me so well.

“Obviously I didn’t repay them too well by coming away with a victory but it was nice that both sets of fans today gave me the reception that I was really rather hoping for.”

He added: “They piled on the pressure, especially in the second half.

“It was a hard working, really gritty performance at this stage of season, where we don’t have quite so much to play for. I’ve got to be really proud of the team.”

Kenny Dalglish, the man who replaced him, will be wondering what his side have to do solve their problems in front of goal after twice hitting the woodwork and having a penalty claim rejected in addition to numerous other opportunities.

“It’s not the first time we’ve stood here and said exactly the same things,” Dalglish said.

“It has been the same theme – hitting the crossbar, people clearing it off the line, us missing chances or hitting our own players.”

Liverpool have won just one Premier League game at home in 2012 and scored only six goals in seven matches.