Last wednesday night saw Manchester City's Champions League hopes go up in smoke and after four days of reflection, Roberto Mancini has admitted that he could well miss out on his primary summer transfer targets, one of whom is Fernando Torres.
With City in the Europa League, which Liverpool have also qualified for, that is unlikely to be enough to entice Torres from Anfield, unless the Spanish international simply wants to double his wages. Mancini, the City manager, said: "I don't think we can attract players like Torres. If we finished in the top four, it would be better and easier to attract them. In this situation it is different. There are probably some players who want to play in the Champions League and not in the Europa League."
The last day of the season is traditionally a time for some fond farewells but if this proved to be Gianfranco Zola's last game in charge, as has long been thought, there was still no room for sentiment from those in charge at West Ham.
Zola may have saved the club from relegation but relations between the manager and the new owners, who took over in January, have never got above frosty. David Sullivan, the West Ham joint chairman wrote in the programme: "The current team and management know that what they have delivered was below the expectations at the start of the season and we simply have to do better next time."
Trying to sweeten the pill, as losing Zola would not be popular with many fans, he added: "We anticipate five or six signings this summer. We are in the process of increasing our shareholding from 50 to 60 per cent by buying another 10 per cent of the club from Straumur [the defunct investment bank from Iceland that bought West Ham].
"We hope to find other investors who want to buy some of the club and thereby inject further funds. "
Zola will have a meeting with the owners this week where he will thrash out his future, but he admitted he had lost some of his joy for the game this season. Having been under pressure ever since the club changed hands, Zola said: "I have enjoyed it less this year than last year. We will have a long and interesting chat. Things would have to change for me to stay."
Luis Boa Morte opened the scoring after a delightful backheeled pass from Alessandro Diamanti. It was the Portuguese winger's first goal for the club in over three years on his first appearance in exactly 12 months. Carlos Tevez, once of West Ham, started on City's bench but eventually came on to a hero's reception and put his only chance over the bar, thus ensuring a warm welcome next season as well.
The hosts were not in the lead for long, as City briefly roused themselves to equalise. Adam Johnson put in a deep cross and Shaun Wright-Phillips jumped unmarked to head – yes, head – past Robert Green, but for both clubs, for vastly different reasons, it has been a campaign to forget.
West Ham (4-4-1-1): Green; Faubert, Da Costa, Upson, Daprela; Diamanti (Spence, 87), Parker, Kovac, Boa Morte (Stanislas, 64); Ilan; Cole (Franco, 64). Substitutes not used: Kurucz (gk), Gabbidon, McCarthy, Spector.
Manchester City (4-2-4): Fulop; Zabaleta, Kompany, Toure, Sylvinho (Richards, 73); De Jong, Vieira; Wright-Phillips, Adebayor, Santa Cruz (Tevez, 73), A Johnson (Cunningham, 89). Subs not used: Nielsen (gk), Garrido, Boyota, Ibrahim.
Referee: H Webb (Yorkshire).
Bookings: West Ham: Boa Morte, Daprela.
Man of the match: Wright-Phillips. Attendance: 34,989.
In front of Franco Baldini, Fabio Capello's right-hand man, and Ray Clemence, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson both did well. The former scored and the latter created chances from both flanks. For West Ham, Scott Parker stood out in central midfield. In goal, Robert Green commanded the area, although Matthew Upson let Roque Santa Cruz in for one chance. Carlton Cole was anonymous.Reuse content