Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepts this season has not been a success for Manchester United but believes his squad has the right characters to do better next term.
Villarreal won the Europa League after defeating Manchester United 11-10 in a penalty shoot-out on Wednesday night, as United goalkeeper David De Gea missed the deciding spot-kick.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer bluntly responded “no” when asked whether he could call United’s season successful.
“It’s quiet of course,” he also said. “It’s a disappointed dressing room. That’s football for you. Sometimes it’s decided on one kick.
“That’s the difference between winning and losing sometimes. We have to learn from that one. We have to taste this feeling and make sure we don’t get it again. We didn’t turn up and know we didn’t play as well as we can do.
“We started alright. They scored. It’s disappointing again to concede on a set play. After we scored, we couldn’t dominate the game.
“That’s football at times. They made it hard for us, closed the spaces. They defended well, we didn’t create enough big chances.”
Former United midfielder Paul Scholes, speaking as part of BT Sport’s punditry team, questioned whether United’s players hurt enough after a defeat.
But Solskjaer stood up for his team and believes they possess the right character to respond positively to Wednesday’s defeat in Gdansk.
“We have a strong, competitive squad. The spirit in the squad is good. They’re gutted in there,” he said.
“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 on your side is to work harder and better.”
The Red Devils finished second in the Premier League
but have still not won a trophy under Solskjaer, who first returned to the Old Trafford club as caretaker manager in December 2018 before becoming permanent manager in March the following year.
It is now four years since United last won a trophy – when they did the League Cup and Europa League double in 2016-17, having lost four semi-finals since then.
Reporting from BBC and The Athletic
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