Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has tipped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to beat Villarreal in the Europa League final by a scoreline of either 2-1 or 2-0.
The Norwegian can pick up his first piece of silverware as manager of the Red Devils if his side beat Unai Emery’s men in the final in Gdansk, Poland.
After two-and-a-half-years in charge at Old Trafford, the progress that Solskjaer has made at the club is clear for all to see but he needs a trophy to solidify the developments made.
United are set to be without captain Harry Maguire as the defender has failed to recover from an ankle injury.
Berbatov believes United would be wrong to risk Maguire and says the Red Devils can win in Poland without him.
‘Harry Maguire has been included in the squad but for me they don’t need to risk him. I saw him in crutches a few days ago. It depends on Ole if he is confident and Maguire is the captain. But I don’t think they should risk it,’ said Betafair ambassador Berbatov.
‘He is the captain and a major figure. He can go to the manager and say that he feels OK. I can lead the team and say all of that. You will try to convince the manager even though you know deep down that you are not ready. You want to be part of games like this.
‘It takes courage to admit you are not ready and that you would be the weak link in your team. He will try to convince the manager to play him and then it is up to Ole to decide whether he wants to do it. A central defender is a leading role in the team and if he is not 100%, Villareal will try to exploit it.
‘I’m going with United as long as they ensure they don’t take unnecessary risks. They don’t need to play Maguire if he is still feeling the effects of his injury. United also need to play the ball well in the attacking third. United have the speed, class and talent to win either 2-1 or 2-0.’
United won the competition for the first time in 2017 when Jose Mourinho guided the Red Devils to a 2-0 victory against Ajax in Stockholm.
The victory meant United had won every trophy available to them but it failed to usher in a successful era, with Mourinho lasting less than 18 months after the final.
Solskjaer, though, is hopeful that a victory tonight could lead to better things in years to come.
‘We have five wins [in finals] in Europe,’ said Solskjaer.
‘We’ve lost twice to Barcelona.
‘These are big nights for us. It might be the stepping stone for something better to come, a bright future because this team is a young team.
‘It’s a team that we’ve rebuilt over the last couple of years, so hopefully this is the start of something more.’
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