Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Cautiously Optimistic Ahead of Europa League Final

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says a Manchester United win over Villarreal in the Europa League final could be a “stepping stone for a big future”.

Solskjaer, a Champions League winner with United as a player, has yet to win a trophy since taking charge of the club in 2018-19.

“This is a team that we’ve rebuilt in the last few years. Hopefully this is the start of something more,” he said.

United have not won a major trophy for four years, but Solskjaer said he was “quietly confident” of beating Villarreal, who finished seventh in Spain’s La Liga in 2020-21.

“That’s the pleasure and the pressure of Manchester United. That’s something the players are ready for. They wouldn’t have signed here if they weren’t top players.

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“These are big nights for us. It might be the stepping stone for a big future.

“This group of players has been working for a year and a half together. The next step for them is to enjoy a game like this – I’ve seen something growing inside of the players.”

There are plans for 2,000 fans of each club to be present at the final.

Thirty minutes’ extra time will be played if the scores are level after 90 minutes. The final will be decided by a penalty shootout if the scores are still level after 120 minutes.

Doubts remain about captain Harry Maguire’s availability after he suffered ankle ligament damage two weeks ago.

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Maguire was on crutches until last week but has travelled to Gdansk and hopes to feature. However, he did not take part in Tuesday’s training session.

Solskjaer is without Anthony Martial and Phil Jones because of knee injuries.

The United boss has a big decision to make over who starts in goal. David de Gea made some fine saves in the semi-final second leg against Roma, but Dean Henderson is also challenging for a starting place.

“It’s always difficult to leave players out but it’s throughout the whole season,” said the United boss.

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Written by Bonface Osano

Communication And Media Student. Sports Writer.

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