Man Utd U23s earn promotion back to Premier League 2 top tier as Chelsea crowned champions

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James Garner Man Utd PL 2
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Following a points-per-game decision over how the season should be decided, Neil Wood's side will go up a division despite finishing second

Manchester United Under-23s have been promoted back to the top tier of Premier League 2 after a decision was made at a meeting on Thursday.

The 2019-20 season was abandoned at the start of May after the coronavirus pandemic had originally forced the suspension of the league back in March.

Neil Wood’s side were sitting second in the table behind West Ham at the time, with only five games left to play. Ordinarily, league rules dictate the champions are promoted and that there is a play-off between teams in second to fifth to decide the second promotion place.

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With the campaign coming to a premature end, however, there had to be a decision made on how the final standings would be calibrated, with the sides in all academy leagues voting to conclude the season via points per game.

This means United finished second and have been promoted back to tier one having spent the last two seasons in the second tier after they were relegated while Ricky Sbragia was in charge.

Wood has set about changing the playing style of the team since then and while the focus was primarily centred around getting talent into the first team, they will be happy to be back in the top division.

Indeed, Teden Mengi became the latest academy graduate to make his debut for the club in the 2019-20 campaign as he came on as a second-half substitute in the 2-1 win over LASK on Wednesday.

The U-23s returned to training a couple of weeks ago to begin their preparations for the new campaign and it will now be a bigger test for the youngsters stepping up to the top division.

Wood spoke to Goal during lockdown about what he deemed to be a successful season before they knew their promotion fate.

He said: "The objective from the start wasn’t solely to get promoted, it was to get players as close as they can to the first team and get a team playing as close to Manchester United style as possible.

"As the season went on we were doing well and really pushing West Ham, and once we got to February we started to think we should go for this promotion. The lads were confident of catching West Ham and that they could get the automatic spot.

"I was confident they could do that as well. Obviously it was disappointing for the season to finish like it did. Hopefully they decide we can be promoted and get back to playing the likes of City, Spurs, Chelsea."

Following the verdict, Chelsea have now been crowned champions of the Premier League 2 top division, with the Blues gaining 38 points from their 18 games played in the 2019-20 campaign.

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