‘Does losing hurt them enough? It’s almost become accepted’: Paul Scholes slams Man United’s mentality after chastening Europa League final defeat by Villarreal… before claiming Red Devils have become a ‘NICE club’ under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Manchester United were left stunned in Europa League final against Villarreal
- Unai Emery’s side ran out winners in a dramatic penalty shootout in Gdansk
- United headed into the final as favourites against seventh-placed LaLiga side
- Following the final whistle, Paul Scholes heavily questioned United’s mentality
Paul Scholes tore into Manchester United’s mentality following their shock Europa League final defeat against Villarreal, claiming losing has ‘almost become an accepted thing’ at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side headed into the final as big favourites coming up against a Villarreal team who finished seventh in LaLiga, but Unai Emery’s men stunned their opponents to seal Europa League glory in Gdansk.
Gerard Moreno gave Villarreal the surprise lead in the 29th minute before United rallied back through Edinson Cavani but they failed to grasp the momentum and succumbed to a dramatic 11-10 defeat during the penalty shootout, with David de Gea missing the final spot-kick.
Manchester United were stunned by Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wait for silverware as United manager goes on after defeat in Gdansk
United great Scholes was stunned by what he witnessed in Poland, and slammed his former side for becoming too nice a club under Solskjaer.
‘It’s difficult to come out of that game and give them credit, they weren’t good tonight,’ Scholes told BT Sport following the final whistle.
‘Overall there has been progress. But does losing hurt them enough? It’s almost become an accepted thing. From Ole’s point of view, where is the demands?
‘He has made progress, but this club expects to win trophies. If it gets into the next couple of years and there’s still nothing he might have a problem. There aren’t the demands there where he has to win.
‘A few players, it doesn’t hurt them. Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, they won’t like it. They look like they’re proper hurt, the others it can look acceptable, even from the manager. They’ve become a nice club.’
Former United midfielder Paul Scholes slammed the side’s mentality after the chastening loss
Scholes’ former United team-mate Rio Ferdinand backed up his fellow pundit on Wednesday, claiming the side ‘failed’ in their ‘acid test’ of trying to build a winning culture.
Ferdinand said: ‘If you look as a whole they’ve improved on last season, and this was an opportunity to form part of a winning culture.
‘It was the acid test tonight and the team failed. Ole tried to a create an environment to make a unit for these situations, they didn’t get the job done. To be brutal, it is a failure.’
The former centre back then continued: ‘They can’t get over the line. Semi-finals last season, now they’ve got to a final but they can’t get over the line to win silverware. You’re not afforded time usually. They’re in a position now where they need to turn finals into silverware.’
After finishing second in the Premier League, the Red Devils were expected to cap off their season with success in Europe.
But Villarreal boss Emery worked his magic yet again to seal his fourth Europa League triumph in just eight seasons.
Unai Emery has now clinched a remarkable fourth Europa League in just eight seasons
David de Gea’s missed penalty consigned United to defeat against Emery’s Villarreal side
And Solskjaer’s wait for his first piece of silverware as United manager goes on, and a long summer is ahead.
Following the final whistle, United forward Marcus Rashford admitted the club had passed up a great opportunity but insisted their failure will make them even hungrier heading into the new season.
‘In one word, it’s disappointing’, Rashford said. ‘But there’s no chance this team will give up, we’ll come back next season with a bigger desire.’
The England international then added: ‘People say a lot about us going downhill. For me, the talent, ability, we have everything to compete at the highest level, we just have to show it, why we belong in finals like this, winning finals like this.
‘In the league we finished second, but it counts for nothing. Man City win the league, we finish second, it means nothing.
Marcus Rashford insisted United will come back even hungrier next term in their bid for glory
‘For us, I don’t want to hear “they were so close”, it doesn’t mean anything. There’s one winner, one loser. Next time, we have to make sure we don’t lose.
‘I’m 100 per cent sure we will [win trophies]. To win trophies you have to show sacrifice. I could walk you into that dressing room and I could show you five, six players who had injuries from September.
‘We all work together as a unit and we fight to be successful. This year it didn’t happen. We have to go away and clear our heads and start fresh. When Ole came in there was a process. The players still believe in that process and this isn’t the end of the process.’
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