It has been a precarious road to the road to silverware for Manchester United, who had to suffer a early group stage exit at the Champions League in order to be on collision course with Villarreal for the Europa League final. Despite the poor show in the first tier competition of Europe, the team was in top form by the second half of the season.
That reflected in their performance against an in-form Real Sociedad whom they gallop 4-0 in the round of 32, whose all goals came in the first leg at Basque club’s stadium Anoeta itself.
Following the marauding display, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer-led side then overcame Italian giants AC Milan in the quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate; thanks to a solitary second half goal by Paul Pogba at the San Siro after holding Milan 1-1 at Old Trafford a week earlier.
The team only got better in the semi-final when they see off AS Roma 8-5 on aggregate to book their final spot.
Saying that, winning the Europa League would mean more than avoiding another trophyless season. He’s hoping Wednesday’s final will be the start of something bigger.
Up against Spanish team Villarreal and its Europa League specialist coach Unai Emery, Solskjaer’s team is bidding to avoid a fourth consecutive season without silverware. That would be the longest drought for United since the 1980s, in the early days of Alex Ferguson’s otherwise trophy-filled reign.