Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that Manchester United were “tired” by the end of their Europa League clash with Sevilla – and offered a tiny hint to their transfer business.
United’s semi-final curse struck again, as Sevilla came from behind to reach the final instead of Man Utd. It’s the third time out of three competitions that United have been eliminated at the last four stage this season.
It brings down the curtains on Solskjaer’s first full season in charge at Old Trafford. And despite United having enough chances to ensure it continued for one more game, they ultimately lost out.
However, the United boss is content with the progress they have made in 2019-20 – but thinks they will need to mature further in the coming months.
Solskjaer told BT Sport: “It’s one of them, if you take chances you win comfortably – not always the case in football.
“We had moments in spells in both halves where we should have scored a few. We have a young team; some spells showed that this group of players will have to learn and get some consistency in their play.
“When we get the ball down and create chances it’s scintillating at times. The keeper had a fantastic game. It’s disappointing we didn’t score because we’ve got players with that quality.”
Replays suggested that the ball was out of play before Sevilla’s opener. Had the officials spotted it, the game could have had a different outcome.
But Solskjaer refused to use it as an excuse.
“It was a throw-in – 100%, but when you don’t get it you can’t stop. You know it’s our throw-in but it ends up on other side of pitch at the other end [and they cross it for the goal].”
Then, Sevilla’s winning goal was particularly poor for United to concede, with their defence coming under scrutiny.
And Solskjaer admitted that it highlighted issues all over the pitch, not just at the back.
He added: “It’s not just in the box, but the run up to the goal is disappointing. We should have stopped the cross maybe, then the ball got a deflection off Brandon’s [Williams] thigh that changed the direction of the ball.”
Solskjaer looks to Man Utd future
It has been a season of progress for United, but they have fallen short before the last hurdle on more than one occasion.
This was only their second defeat since lockdown, and Solskjaer is pleased with how they have developed in 2020.
However, the former striker admitted they need to work to make sure they can take more steps forward in future.
“Since February we’ve been fantastic,” he said. “Then again it’s disappointing to go out.
“We’ve come quite a distance. Exciting to work with the boys but you could see at the end – tired legs and tired minds.
“We definitely need to improve to move up the table and take steps in the cups. I’ve never had three semi-finals in one season.”
Attention will now turn towards the transfer market for United, as they look to strengthen ahead of the new campaign.
And Solskjaer gave away a little about their plans – even though he predictably refused to comment on a potential bid for Jadon Sancho.
“We are working to improve what we have,” Solskjaer added. “We’ve had spells with injuries. We’re always looking to improve the squad.
“It’s not about a marquee signing, it’s about quality. The right personality that fits into the group.”
When asked about Sancho specifically, he replied: “I’m not commenting on other teams’ players.”