Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces questions for failing to get Manchester United over the line as ‘masterful’ Villarreal boss Unai Emery nullifies Premier League side in Europa League final
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will face questions over his inability to ‘get Manchester United over the line’ in the Europa League final.
United’s wait for their first trophy under Solskjaer continues with his side beaten by Villarreal in Gdnask where David de Gea missed the decisive spot-kick in the penalty shootout.
On this day 22 years ago, the Norwegian wrote himself into club folklore with a late goal in the 1999 Champions League to complete the treble.
But May 26, 2021 did not provide another triumphant chapter in United’s trophy-laden story.
All outfield players scored their penalties after the game ended 1-1 in normal time, with Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli saving De Gea’s penalty to win 11-10 in the shootout and secure the first major trophy in their history.
It was a heartbreaking end to a promising season for United, who finished as Premier League runners-up and showed clear signs of progress. Yet talkSPORT host Dean Ashton believes ‘master’ Unai Emery completely got the better of his more inexperienced counterpart in Poland.
Ashton said after the game: “It leaves Solskjaer with questions being asked whether he is the man to get him them over the line.
“He will have his critics, there will be people who will say, ‘I told you so’.
“Did he get it right tactically? Did he make the changes when they needed to be made? No.
“He’s got to answer to that. But right now, they’ll be devastated.”
For former Arsenal boss Emery, it was a remarkable fourth triumph in the Europa League and one which sealed Champions League qualification for Villarreal.
Ashton continued: “Solskjaer will be so disappointed with that performance.
“He’ll look back on opportunities to change that game, tactically and with substitutions.
“It went the way we thought it might go, with Villarreal at their absolutely best, with Unai Emery’s tactics nullifying United.
“United had one of those evenings where they never really got going. Emery is the master of this competition. You could just tell it meant more to them.”
And on the subject of De Gea, who has been a United player for 10 years, former Old Trafford forward Alan Brazil thinks his time there is over.
“He’s made some great stops, especially his reactions with his legs that have saved Manchester United loads but I just have a feeling, after that heartbreak, he’s going back to Spain.”