Fulham and Cardiff were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday after Sunderland's surprise 1-0 win at Manchester United proved a reality check for the deposed champions' interim manager Ryan Giggs.
Fulham lost 4-1 at Stoke and Cardiff was defeated 3-0 at Newcastle, leaving both teams unable to climb out of the bottom three with one match apiece remaining.
"I have to apologise for not managing the situation. The club asked me to come - I tried," said Fulham manager Felix Magath, who was hired in February in an attempt to keep the club in the top division for a 14th straight season. "The thing is you can never say any player would like to see relegation, but they didn't fight enough, especially today."
Cardiff goes down after spending just one year in the Premier League.
Sebastian Larsson's 30th-minute winner at Old Trafford means resurgent Sunderland have picked up seven points from recent away matches at Manchester City, Chelsea and United to move three points clear of third-bottom Norwich with two matches left.
After opening with a 4-0 win over Norwich last weekend, Giggs saw United turn in a performance reminiscent of David Moyes' woeful 10-month tenure that was ended last month.
"I feel flat," said Giggs. "The players were flat and I don't know why . We were putting five- or 10-yard passes astray and if you do that in the Premier League you get punished. We've had a problem at home all season - it's not been good enough."
Already out of contention to qualify for the Champions League, United is also struggling to make the Europa League as it is six points behind sixth-placed Tottenham, which lost 2-0 at West Ham.
Spurs went down to 10 men in the 25th minute when Younes Kaboul was given a straight red card for a professional foul, before an own goal by Harry Kane and Stewart Downing's free kick secured a victory that preserved West Ham's Premier League status for another season.
Aston Villa is almost certain of staying up, too, after beating Hull 3-1 thanks to Ashley Westwood's goal after 58 seconds and a pair of headers from Andreas Weimann just before halftime.
Villa is six points clear of Norwich, which likely needs at least four points to survive but ends the season with games against Chelsea on Sunday and Arsenal next weekend.
Hull, a point behind Villa, is also unlikely to be hauled in by Norwich but its three-game winless run bodes ill for the FA Cup final against Arsenal on May 17.
Southampton beat Swansea 1-0 away thanks to Rickie Lambert's injury-time goal in Saturday's other match.