1,085 days. That’s how long it’s been since Manchester United competed in a Cup final. But that number will return to 0 when they face Villareal in the Europa League final on the 26th May in Gdansk.
At times, it felt like our bad luck in semi-finals would never end. What seemed to be a tie that was wrapped up in the first leg, unexpectedly turned into a second leg free-for-all, with an enormous 13 goals netted across both games.
It was a tie that many weren’t sure we’d succeed in, but once again Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Reds proved them wrong. Though the second leg was slightly erratic and unnerving at times, we mustn’t dwell too much on the negatives given we made it to our final destination – a European cup final.
As we happily wave goodbye to the semi-final stage with a smile on our faces, an equal amount of nerves and excitement are already beginning to set in ahead of the final. A feeling we haven’t felt in what feels like an eternity.
It’s safe to say that up until now, we’ve cruised through the knock-out stages of this competition, minus the games against AC Milan. In four out of the five ties we’ve played, we’ve scored 4+ goals – an impressive statistic that isn’t getting as much attention as I’d have thought it would. I can only hope we see a scoreline similar on the 26th of May, though Villareal won’t make it easy for us.
Through the excitement of last night, it mustn’t go unnoticed that Ole is the first person to reach a major European final, both as a player and a manager for Manchester United. A fantastic achievement in itself.
On a day where he’ll lead his team out in his first European cup final, Solskjaer will be undoubtedly be reminiscing over his 92nd-minute strike that led United to Champions League success, 22 years to the day. Will 26th May prove to be a good omen for Ole? I sure hope so.
When it comes to Solskjaer, he receives immense criticism when results don’t go our way. But when it comes to outstanding performances and achievements, such as this one, they’re seemingly overlooked.
The mentality shift that Ole has instilled into this team, particularly over the last couple of months, hasn’t been given enough credit. Though there is still a way to go, more fans are placing their faith in Ole and believing that he is the man to lead us back to the top.
The future has never seemed so bright for Manchester United.
The only thing that may hold us back from lifting the trophy? A heavily congested run of fixtures which will pose a worry for both the fans and Ole. Despite this, I have no doubts that Ole will do the best he can to prevent injuries and fatigue within the team, because at the end of the day – he wants to lift that trophy just as much as we want him to.
So, as the countdown begins, we wait patiently with crossed fingers that this will be a turning point in this era of Manchester United. I have no hesitation in believing that once we win the first trophy, we’ll be adding more to the cabinet every season . We just need something to kick-start the winning mentality in a team who are yet to have a collective taste of being crowned champions.
All I want is to hear those words “And Solskjaer has won it”, once again as he lifts another trophy with Manchester United – but this time, as our manager.
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Europa League Final