Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United boss, has given some cogent reasons why his team were not able to defeat Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday.
The manager also singled out Scott McTominay for special praise after the disappointing night, describing his performance as ‘outstanding’.
Gerard Moreno put Unai Emery’s Villarreal ahead in the first half but United bounced back through Edinson Cavani to take the game to extra time.
However, United came up short in epic penalty shootout, with David de Gea’s decisive spot-kick saved by Geronimo Rulli.
Emery successfully nullified the threat of both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, with an inspired McTominay outshining his high-profile team-mates in the middle of the park at Gdansk Stadium.
Solskjaer was asked if he was disappointed his supposed big players failed to deliver, and he told reporters
“You know you’ve got players with high quality there.
“We started with loads of goal scorers and match-winners and we felt and hoped that was going to give us the upper hand.
“We just couldn’t get the first goal and I’m disappointed that we conceded with our first chance and their only shot on target, that’s disappointing of course.
“After we scored we pushed on for about 5-10 minutes and it looked like the game was there for us but then we just couldn’t kick on.
“I thought Scott McTominay was absolutely outstanding out there. He was, for me, the best player on the pitch.”
Speaking further, he said,
“No, it’s not a successful season of course.
“And that’s the small margins in football. Sometimes one kick can define a season as a good one or as a successful one and one kick says it’s not.
“Improvement, yeah, second in the league which nobody expected after the lack of pre-season we had but the boys have been really good.
“They just came up short tonight unfortunately and that’s on penalties and we could have been sat here saying it was a successful season after the same game.
“Trophies matter and that’s what matters at this club so ‘no’ is your short answer.”