Monday, September 28, 2020

Solskjaer sore over Man Utd misses after De Jong sucker-punch

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 16 Aug 2020

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Manchester United made life hard for themselves with wasteful finishing against Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals.

A 2-1 defeat in Cologne brought United’s season to a disappointing end from their manager’s perspective.

He said there were “tired legs, tired minds” on the pitch in the closing stages, after Luuk de Jong poached Sevilla’s 78th-minute winner.

“It’s one of them that if you take your chances you win comfortably,” Solskjaer told BT Sport.

“But that’s not always the case in football. We had moments and spells in both halves where we should have, could have, scored quite a few.

“But when you don’t take them it’s going to be hard. We’ve got a young team – we had three years average less than them – and I thought in some spells today we showed this group of players will have to learn and get the consistency in their play.”

Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all passed up good chances, with United’s goal coming from a Bruno Fernandes penalty in the ninth minute.

Suso equalised soon after, with De Jong taking advantage of slack defending to score the close-range winner later in the game.

It means United have been eliminated this season at the semi-final stage in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League – the first English top-flight side to suffer that fate.

United manager Solskjaer said his team were “scintillating at times” and applauded the performance of Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who made one top-class save after another. 

“The keeper’s had a fantastic game,” Solskjaer said. “Of course it’s disappointing we don’t score because we know we’ve got players who’ve got that quality, but then again, that’s the game.”

He felt Fernandes should have had a second penalty when he was bundled over at one stage, and lamented the Sevilla goals both coming from crosses that United could not handle.

Fernandes has made the difference since his arrival from Sporting CP at the end of January, with United surging to third in the Premier League and maintaining their European run until they hit this stumbling block.

Solskjaer said he would be looking to strengthen his squad during the close-season break but stressed: “We’ve come quite a distance from where we were in February.”

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