Europa League: Missed chances cost Manchester United a place in the final – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that missed chances cost his side a place in the final of the Europa League after losing 2-1 to Sevilla in the Europa League semi-final.

This season has seen the Red Devils losing in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, FA Cup, and now Europa League. They have now gone trophyless in three seasons as well.

United had gone ahead in the 9th minute after Bruno Fernades converted from the spot. The referee pointed to the spot after Marcus Rashford was upended in the box by Diego Carlos as he unleashed the shot and after Fernandes had put the rebound wide.

Suso restored parity for Sevilla to level the score before the break and substitute Luuk De Jong fired home late on to secure the win for the Spanish side.

Bruno Fernandes netted his eighth Europa League goal of the season from the spot.

Speaking to the club’s website after the match, the boss admitted the Spaniards’ experience told at key points in the match.

It’s going to be hard when you don’t take your chances – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sevilla keeper Yassine Bounou deservedly won the man of the match award after making six saves in a frustrating night for United in Cologne. United had the chance to score two more goals at least in the second half but the goalie denied Anthony Martial from close range.

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“It’s one of them – if you take your chances you’ll win comfortably but that’s not always the case in football. We had moments and spells in both halves where we could have and should have scored quite a few goals. But when you don’t take the chances it’s going to be hard.

“We have a young team – we had three years average less than them and I thought some spells today maybe showed that. This group of players will have to learn and get some consistency in the play.

“When we got the ball down and pressed and created counterattack chances it was scintillating at times. Their keeper had a fantastic game. It’s disappointing we didn’t score because we know we’ve got players who have got that quality,” Solksjaer told Man United’s website.

Solskjaer looks glum in the technical area during United’s Europa League semi-final defeat to Sevilla

In the lead-up to Sevilla’s equalizer, a throw-in was controversially awarded against United, and Solskjaer also pointed to a foul in the build-up to their winner. But he admitted that his side will have to learn valuable lessons from a hugely disappointing evening.

“It’s not just in the box but the whole run-up to the goal is disappointing. We were on the break, Anto got fouled and it should have been a booking. The recovery runs weren’t good enough and we should have stopped the cross maybe and cleared the ball when it got into the box. A deflection off Brandon’s [Williams] thigh changed the direction of the ball, but then again, to concede from two crosses is disappointing.”

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”It was our throw-in – 100 percent, but that’s what I mean about experience… when you don’t get it you can’t stop, you’ve got to stick with the game. We know it’s our throw-in but it still ends up on the other side of the pitch and they get across in so you can’t say that is the reason [why we conceded the equalizer].”

The Norwegian further stated that United ought to have got another penalty from Diego Carlos’ tackle on Fernades, but it was not given.

“Yeah. We got a corner from it but he [Diego Carlos] never touched the ball – he just ran straight through him [Bruno Fernandes]. But that’s decisions, I’m just accepting that both players and referees can make decisions that might not be the right one.”

While describing his team as fantastic, Solksjaer said the next thing is to take a break and resume for preseason later in few weeks.

“Since February we’ve been fantastic. Then again it’s disappointing to go out. We’ve come quite a distance from where we were in February. It’s quite exciting to work with these boys but then again you could see how tired they were at the end – tired legs and tired minds. So we’ll need the break we can have now and go again very soon.”

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“We definitely need to improve if you want to move up the table and take steps further in the cups. I’ve never had three semi-finals in one season and that [losing them all] is one of those things you’re disappointed with as well. We are working to improve what we have. We’ve had spells with injuries and we’ve had spells where players have played a lot. We’re always looking to improve the squad.”

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