Man Utd: Solskjaer urges team to use Europa pain to rebuild
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Manchester United were bad against Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday night. That’s the brutal truth of the matter, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side failing to do enough to bring the trophy home. So Express Sport will now take a look at five players who simply aren’t good enough in the aftermath of the result.
David De Gea
David De Gea was the best player for United during the troublesome Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho eras.
But the Spain international is now a man out of time.
He didn’t do a lot wrong over the course of the 120 minutes but, in the shootout, he failed to save a single one.
To make matters worse, De Gea also fluffed his lines – with his failed spot-kick giving Villarreal the prize.
In the modern game, you need a goalkeeper who can do everything. And De Gea’s limitations on a chastening night were clear for all to see.
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On his day, Victor Lindelof can be a silky asset.
And it wasn’t all bad against Villarreal, with the Sweden international scoring one of the best penalties of the dramatic shootout.
But, when all is said and done, the former Benfica star isn’t up to scratch.
Lindelof has never looked like being a world-class centre-back akin to the likes of Harry Maguire, Virgil van Dijk, Ruben Dias and Kalidou Koulibaly.
And when Maguire isn’t alongside him he’s a certain weak link, with Villarreal exploiting him when Gerard Moreno scored their opener on Wednesday night.
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The same complaints of Lindelof can also be levelled at Eric Bailly.
This was his night to step up. With Maguire out injured, it was always going to be the Ivory Coast international who got the nod.
But, over the course of the 120 minutes in Gdansk, it was clear why Solskjaer has been so reluctant to play the former Villarreal star.
Bailly looked a mistake waiting to happen and his failed overhead kick to clear the ball has gone viral in the aftermath of the result.
It’s no wonder United are looking closely at Raphael Varane. It’s because, deep down, they know both Bailly and Lindelof aren’t good enough to start every week.
Yes, on his day, Paul Pogba is brilliant.
But the France international has rarely lived up to his £89million price tag – and that’s the brutal truth of the matter.
Pogba is a great character and a leader within Solskjaer’s squad. But when you pay the big bucks, you expect the big trophies.
And he’s failed to deliver them.
He gave a flat performance against Villarreal, with all of his long passes struggling to find their mark. As a World Cup winner, this wasn’t good enough.
What Marcus Rashford does away from the pitch is absolutely magnificent. He’s a national treasure and fully deserving of every bit of praise that comes his way.
But, on the field, the 23-year-old still has plenty to learn.
It’s five years since Rashford burst onto the scene under Van Gaal but, though he’s got immense talent, he’s not consistent enough to rank up there with Europe’s best.
Even Patrick Bamford of Leeds United scored more Premier League goals than Rashford this term, despite Marco Bielsa’s side only just securing promotion.
And Rashford must go away and enhance his game if he’s to evolve into the superstar his early months suggested he would be.
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