‘We didn’t turn up’: Manchester United were not good enough in Europa League final against Villarreal, admits Solskjaer after penalty shootout defeat… and boss calls on ‘disappointed’ dressing room to ‘taste’ feeling to avoid a repeat
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says United failed to ‘turn up’ for their Europa League final
- The manager says it was disappointing to concede on a set play on Wednesday
- Solskjaer also said that Manchester United ‘need to get better’ to be successful
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Manchester United failed to turn up after they suffered Europa League final heartbreak against Villarreal.
Goalkeeper David De Gea saw his penalty saved by rival Geronimo Rulli at the end of a dramatic, 22-kick marathon shoot-out to earn Villarreal their first ever major trophy but leave Solskjaer and his players crestfallen.
The United manager said: ‘We didn’t turn up. We didn’t play as well as we can do. That’s football for you. Sometimes decided on one kick and that’s the difference between winning and losing.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United failed to ‘turn up’ for their Europa League final
‘We’ve got to, not savour the feeling, but taste it and make sure you don’t get it again.’
Striker Marcus Rashford issued a passionate defence of United after they ended the season second in the Premier League but trophyless.
He said: ‘We came here to win and have been working hard all season and this was the opportunity to win a trophy and it did not happen.
‘All I can say is the team will not give up. No chance. The manager will not give up. He won’t allow us to give up and we will come back next season with a bigger desire.
‘People say a lot about Manchester United, “they’re going downhill, blah blah, blah” but for me the club, the desire, the hunger, the talent, the ability, we have everything to compete at the highest level. We just have to show it to the world and to ourselves. Why we belong at the top, in finals like this, winning finals like this.
The Red Devils lost the final against Villarreal on Wednesday night due to penalties
The dramatic shootout came down to David De Gea’s crucial penalty – which he missed
‘Second doesn’t count for nothing. Manchester City win the league, we finished second. Doesn’t mean nothing. Villarreal won the Europa League, we finished second.
‘For us it’s nothing. I don’t want to hear “they were so close” because it means nothing. One winner, one loser. Today we lost. We have to find out why and make sure next time we don’t lose.
‘I’m 100% sure [we can compete because of] sacrifice. To win big trophies you have to show sacrifice. I could walk you into the dressing room and show you five, six, seven players – and me – who have had injuries from the start of the season. We all stayed and fought to be successful for the club.
‘We have to go away and clear our heads. When we come back we start fresh.
‘When Ole came in we had a process. We believe in the process. Part of the process is ups and downs. Just because we lose today I promise the fans no chance we give up.
‘We will come back next season with more desire and hunger. We have to give 110%.
‘I know in every club they don’t have this sacrifice. In the top clubs they do. That’s why they win trophies. We’re close, I promise we’re close.’
Rashford issued a defence of United after they ended up second in the league but trophyless
He promised fans ‘they are close’ and that they will come back next season with more hunger
After Edinson Cavani’s second-half equaliser cancelled out Gerard Moreno’s first-half opener there were no further goals in Gdansk and it was Villarreal who triumphed following the nerve-shredding shootout extending below-par United’s wait for a first trophy since 2017 while Unai Emery lifted the Europa League for a fourth time.
Solskjaer said: ‘No. It’s not a successful season. Trophies is what matter at this club so no is the short answer.’
De Gea was beaten by all 11 penalties and started the shootout having last saved a spot-kick back in April 2016.
Solskjaer added: ‘You go through every scenario of course and it has crossed my mind in build up to the game [De Gea’s penalty record] but we were confident in David and prepared but anything can happen in penalty shootouts so I stuck with the keeper who played all the game.’
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