Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed to learn from Arsenal blunders against Villarreal

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Manchester United's trophy drought has now reached four years after they were beaten in the Europa League final by Unai Emery's Villarreal after a stunning penalty shoot-out.

Every outfield player converted their spot kick before David de Gea saw his saved, ensuring United's wait for silverware will roll on into next season.

The last time the club celebrated a trophy came in 2017, when Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's predecessor Jose Mourinho guided the Red Devils to victory over Ajax in the Europa League final.

Four years is viewed by many fans as an unacceptable barren spell for a club of United's stature, and former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson claimed Solksjaer was "embarrassed" in the clash with Villarreal.

In his column for the Daily Star, Merson wrote: "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken Manchester United as far as he can.

"I thought he was totally outwitted by Unai Emery in the Europa League final. Villarreal are not a great team, but he got out-coached.

"Arsenal got absolutely slaughtered for playing exactly the same way as United did against them. They were poor.

"You thought Solskjaer would change it. They had no pace up front, so what does he do? He puts Fred on!"

Merson went on to claim that Solksjaer missed a trick by not hauling keeper de Gea off before the shoot-out started, adding: "Marcus Rashford was having the worst game of his life. You have to see that as a manager. You have to accept it and take the guy off.

"And you have a goalkeeper who hasn’t saved a penalty in five years and never looked like saving one in the shoot-out. Take him off!

"It’s too NICE for me. Ole is everyone’s mate. He’s not ruthless enough He probably didn’t want to upset people by making those subs."

Such was the nature of United's dismal performance, Merson has written off their chances of ever enjoying great success under Solskjaer's guidance.

"United lost. And I thought they were atrocious. Slow. Predictable. Gave the ball away too much," he concluded.

"Paul Pogba gave it away cheaply with a Hollywood pass gone wrong for the free kick Villarreal scored.

"Emery had a plan. But Solskjaer got embarrassed. This is the furthest he will take them. I don’t think he’s ever going to win them the league."

  • Europa League
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
  • Unai Emery
  • Manchester United FC
  • Paul Pogba

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