The game finished 1-1 after 120 mins, concluding in a remarkable penalty shootout which saw all 20 outfield players score their spot-kick, before it was left to the shot-stoppers to battle it out.
Geronimo Rulli did what David de Gea couldn’t and converted his effort, before saving the United ‘keepers attempt – sparking wild celebrations from every member of Villarreal staff.
The defeat means United’s four year wait for silverware continues, the last time they lifted a major honour coming in their most recent previous appearance in the Europa League final.
Previous manager Jose Mourinho guided United to Europa League glory in 2017 after beating Dutch giants Ajax 2-0 in the final.
In the wake of that victory, Mourinho made a number of moves that Solksjaer could learn from, given his predecessor’s status as a serial winner.
Fresh off of the victory over Ajax, Mourinho wasted no time in bolstering his playing staff, recruiting the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic.
Though progress has been made by United under Solksjaer’s reign, it is undeniable that the Norwegian manager will have to scour the transfer market to strengthen his side in time for next season.
Having finished in second, the Old Trafford faithful will be pleased that Champions League qualification was secured so comfortably, but next season expectations are likely to be different.
After nearly three years in the dug-out, Solskjaer will be expected to mount a serious title tilt next season, but to do so his side will need serious investment in the summer.
The most obvious target was in Gdansk playing for the opposition in the form of Villarreal defender Pau Torres, who has been heavily touted with a move to Man Utd.
The centre-back impressed as he remained calm and composed throughout the tie, while others around him began to tire as the clash went into extra-time.
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The defender has a release clause of £43m for the majority of the summer, but if United are serious in their interest they will have to act fast as Torres’ release clause rises to £53m for the final two weeks of the transfer window.
Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho has long been rumoured to be on the cusp of making a move to Man Utd, but the Red Devils have previously balked at the German side’s asking price.
Given Sancho’s contract edging closer to its expiry date, this summer may present United’s best chance at getting the 21-year-old on the cheap.