Football: 'We didn't turn up', admits Solskjaer after United lose Europa League final

Manchester United's players look dejected as they wait to receive their runner up medals from UEFA president on May 26, 2021.
Manchester United's players look dejected as they wait to receive their runner up medals from UEFA president on May 26, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

GDANSK, POLAND (AFP, REUTERS) - Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said "one kick" was the difference after his side slumped to a surprise Europa League final defeat by Villarreal on Wednesday (May 26).

The English Premier League giants remain without a major trophy in four years after losing 11-10 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Gdansk, with goalkeeper David de Gea missing the final spot-kick.

"It's quiet, a disappointed dressing room. That's football for you. Sometimes it's decided on one kick - and that's the difference between winning and losing," Solskjaer told BT Sport.

"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."

United gave themselves hope of a second Europa League title, after the one they won under Jose Mourinho in 2017, when Edinson Cavani equalised 10 minutes after half-time following Gerard Moreno's 29th-minute opener.

But they struggled to turn possession into chances and looked visibly tired in extra time.

"The feeling inside is difficult to explain," admitted forward Marcus Rashford. "We came here to win. We've been working so hard all season and this was the opportunity to win a trophy and it didn't happen for whatever reason."

He later said he been subjected to “at least 70 racial slurs” on social media.

“At least 70 racial slurs on my social accounts counted so far,” he tweeted. “For those working to make me feel any worse than I already do, good luck trying.”

United tweeted that players were subjected to “disgraceful racist abuse” and urged users to report any form of abuse or discrimination through their online reporting tool.

A host of players at Premier League clubs have been targeted in the past few months, including United’s Anthony Martial, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, Liverpool’s Trent-Alexander Arnold and Sadio Mane, and Chelsea’s Reece James.

In February, English football bodies sent an open letter to Facebook and Twitter, urging blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, as well as an improved verification process for users.

Instagram has announced new measures and Twitter vowed to continue its efforts after taking action on over 700 cases of abuse related to soccer in Britain in 2019.