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Aston Villa relegated after Manchester United defeat

Aston Villa have been relegated from the Premier League following a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.

The Midlands club, who last lost their top-flight status in 1987, are 15 points from safety with four games to play.

Sunderland's 3-0 win over Norwich City had given Villa a stay of execution, but a solitary first-half goal from Marcus Rashford ensured that the 1982 European champions will play in England's second tier next season.

Villa, who sacked manager Remi Garde at the end of last month, have endured a torrid campaign in which supporters have protested both at the performance of the players and the management of the club.

The likes of Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott have been criticised by fans, while long-term servant Gabriel Agbonlahor caused controversy when he was pictured with a shisha pipe while on holiday and has since been removed from first-team duties to undergo a two-week personal fitness programme.

Former defender Paul McGrath went public in March to accuse players of failing to respect the history of the club and said their attitude had undermined Garde's work.

Success off the pitch has been in similarly short supply. Villa announced pre-tax losses of £27million for the year ending May 31, 2015, despite having spent comparatively little in the transfer market in order to arrest their declining performances.

The club were also forced to deny claims that a redesign of their crest had incurred costs of £2m.

CEO Tom Fox resigned in March and sporting director Henrik Almstadt left by mutual consent as part of an internal review by chairman Steve Hollis, who took charge in January.

"The business model is broken but the board is determined we get it right," he said last month. "We are being decisive and taking action which we hope will lead to a more enjoyable experience on the pitch.

"These are not easy times, we have made mistakes over the last few years, let's learn from those.

"Never waste a good crisis if you want to change and turn things around."