Solskjaer reacts to UEL final defeat

UEFA Europa League

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reacted to his side's defeat to Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final.

Solskjaer was made to wait for his first trophy as United's manager after watching his side suffer an agonising penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal in the final on Wednesday, with the match having earlier ended with the scores locked at 1-1.

Scroll through the gallery above to see some photos from the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League final

After the game, which was decided when Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli saved opposite number David de Gea's spot-kick, Solskjaer claimed that his side didn't "turn up" for the match against their Spanish opponents.

"It's quiet, a disappointed dressing room," the Norwegian said in a post-match press conference, per BBC Sport. "That's football for you. Sometimes it's decided on one kick – and that's the difference between winning and losing.

"We have to learn from that one, not savour this feeling but taste this feeling and make sure we don't get it again. We didn't turn up. We didn't play as well as we know we can. We started alright and they got the goal, their only shot on target. We were disappointed to concede a goal on a set play.

"We pushed, we pressed, we got a goal. After we scored, we didn't control the game or dominate as we wanted. They made it hard for us, they closed spaces. We had the majority of possession. They defended well. We didn't create enough big chances.

"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."

With Wednesday's defeat seeing United's campaign draw to a close after a run of 61 matches, Solskjaer dismissed the notion the season had been a success, despite his side finishing second in the Premier League and reaching a European final.

"No," he said when asked if the campaign had been a success. "When you come out with no trophy, you've not done everything right. We need to get better, simple as.

"We've done really well this season coming through. The start was difficult. We had no pre-season and lost three of the first six. We pushed in the league, maybe got closer to the top than we thought and we got to a final, but you need to win the finals to make it a good season."

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