It was a very tight Europa League final as it was expected to be as chances were at a premium for both sides throughout the course of the 120 minutes. But ultimately, Manchester United had to taste defeat in an incredible penalty shootout where David de Gea was the only one out of the 22 players on the pitch to miss a spot kick.
Villarreal had taken the lead on the night in the 29th minute through Gerard Moreno, who scored his 30th goal of the season. It was Edinson Cavani who brought the Red Devils level in the 55th minute of the game.
Nothing could separate the sides after that though and ultimately it took a penalty shootout that ended 11-10 for Villarreal to be crowned the Europa League champions.
On the other hand, Manchester United’s search for a trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues. Despite the progress made this season, they are yet to win a single piece of silverware under the Norwegian manager since his arrival in 2018.
Manchester United Player Ratings vs Villarreal
Here’s how we rated the Manchester United players in their penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Villarreal in the Europa League final:
David de Gea – 5
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6
Eric Bailly – 6.5
Victor Lindelof – 6
Luke Shaw – 6
Scott McTominay – 6.5
Paul Pogba – 6
Mason Greenwood – 7
Bruno Fernandes – 6
Marcus Rashford – 5.5
Edinson Cavani – 7
Fred – 6.5
Daniel James – 6
Axel Tuanzebe – 6
Juan Mata – 6
Alex Telles – 6
At the end of the day, there was very little between the two sides. While the Red Devils had two shots on target, the La Liga side had only one. And the penalty shootout was as tight as can be.
Ultimately though, it was Villarreal who managed to get the job done while Manchester United will finish the season without a trophy.
This was an opportunity missed for the Red Devils to get some silverware under Solskjaer but there has been clear progress under him over the past couple of years. Now, the focus must turn towards next season and improving even further. The summer transfer window can help in that regard.