Aston Villa have been relegated to English football’s second tier for the first time since 1987 after defeat at Manchester United.
Marcus Rashford scored the only goal, sweeping Antonio Valencia’s cut-back through goalkeeper Brad Guzan’s legs.
Villa were second best for much of the game, although Rudy Gestede’s volley did hit a post late on.
It was a ninth straight loss for the visitors and left them 15 points from safety with only four matches left.
Does ‘anarchy’ beckon for Villa?
European Cup winners in 1982, Aston Villa have a proud history but are facing a turbulent immediate future.
Caretaker manager Eric Black has spoken of the danger of the club falling into “anarchy” at the end of a miserable campaign played out against the backdrop of fan protests against Randy Lerner’s ownership.
Last time Villa were relegated to the old second division they immediately returned under Graham Taylor and finished second in the top flight the following season.
At Old Trafford they were outplayed for the majority of the game until the introduction of Gestede gave the travelling supporters hope of salvaging something from the day they finally went down.
It was not to be though – and not many of those 1,500 or so supporters will expect their team to be competing in the Champions League by 2018.
Victory for United means they keep up the pressure on Manchester City in fourth place.
This was an important win in the race for a Champions League spot, and important too for the return of forward Wayne Rooney, who last played in the Premier League on 13 February.
The England captain was not at his best – one heavy touch on the edge of the box saw a golden chance slip away – but he played his part in a solid all-round performance from Louis van Gaal’s team.
The 18-year-old Rashford – who now has seven goals in 12 United appearances – should have added to his brilliantly taken first but prodded wide under pressure in a bright start to the second half, before Juan Mata could only fire straight at Guzan from a short corner.
Gestede almost drew Villa level when striking the post from a corner with just over five minutes to play, but United winger Memphis Depay was also denied by the post soon after – and United were deserved winners.