Solskjaer details how Man Utd may actually benefit from Europa League final loss

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained why Manchester United’s defeat by Villarreal in the Europa League final may benefit them in the long run.

The Red Devils were beaten 11-10 in a lengthy shootout as David de Gea’s effort from 12 yards was kept out by opposite number Geronimo Rulli.

Regular time ended all square after Edinson Cavani cancelled out Gerard Moreno’s opener in a cagey affair which featured seldom few clear-cut chances.

The result means United’s wait for a first trophy since 2017 goes on, while Solskjaer is still yet to lead his side to silverware since taking over over two years ago.

Solskjaer is still searching for his first honour as United boss
Solskjaer is still searching for his first honour as United boss

The Norwegian cut a dejected figure after the match but he is confident his side will channel their pain to ensure they are victorious in their next final

“It’s quiet, a disappointed dressing room,” said Solskjaer. “That’s football for you. Sometimes it’s decided on one kick – and that’s the difference between winning and losing.

“We have to learn from that one, not savour this feeling but taste this feeling and make sure we don’t get it again.”

Solskjaer also admitted United “didn’t turn up” but pointed at their misfortunate at falling behind with Villarreal’s sole shot on target on the night.

He said: “We didn’t play as well as we know we can. We started alright and they got the goal, their only shot on target. We were disappointed to concede a goal on a set play.

“We pushed, we pressed, we got a goal. After we scored we didn’t control the game or dominate as we wanted.

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“They made it hard for us, they closed spaces. We had the majority of possession. They defended well. We didn’t create enough big chances.

“Now is not the time to point the finger at what I’d have done differently. But when you come out without the trophy you haven’t done everything right.

“We’re getting closer and closer and better. We were one kick away from a trophy and a good night.

“We have to have the desire to come back next year and improve. The only way to get the margins your side is to work harder and better.”

Solskjaer – who led United to a second-place finish in the Premier League – was asked whether United’s season can be considered a success and bluntly responded: “No.”

He added: “We need to get better, simple as. We’ve done really well this season coming through. The start was difficult.

“We had no pre-season and lost three of the first six. We pushed in the league, maybe got closer to the top than we thought and we got to a final. But you need to win the finals to make it a good season.”

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