If trophies were won on naivety, Solskjaer’s Man Utd would be greatest team ever
Manchester United arrived in Gdansk with all the gear but no idea.
United looked dressed to kill in blue chequered suits, but like the saying goes, clothes don't maketh the man.
When it comes to winning the games that count, neither do omens, special dates, recalling history or having a legend like Sir Alex Ferguson in the stadium cheering you on.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said before this Europa League final that Fergie could inspire him to land his first silverware since becoming United boss in 2018.
Solskjaer also believed it was United's destiny to beat Villarreal in Poland because of the "special" number 26, because the game fell on the same date as Sir Matt Busby's birthday.
It was also the same date as United's legendary 1999 Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich, which saw Solskjaer himself score in the dying seconds of stoppage time to clinch the Treble.
And just for good measure, 26 is the date Solskjaer's wife celebrates her birthday and when the couple got married.
So who needs a proper defender at the back when destiny is on your side, right? What could possibly go wrong?
Bless him. Call me stupid, but if trophies were handed out for naivety, then Solskjaer would have already won more of them than Fergie, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho put together.
United went into this game as strong favourites to win, but left Poland poleaxed after suffering a bigger take down than the one Dominic Cummings had inflicted on the Government before kick off following David De Gea's miss in an astonishing penalty shoot out.
Villarreal finished seventh in La Liga this season. They only joined the top flight in 1998, 12 months before United were winning the Champions League in Barcelona, while the 'Yellow Submarine's' trophy cabinet had consisted of one Third Division title and two Intertoto Cups.
But it was Solskjaer left sunk – and it will be crushing for the Norwegian.
Since replacing Mourinho in 2018, Solskjaer has now lost four semi finals and a final as United continue to do their best impression of a bridesmaid instead of a bride.
United are now in danger of becoming married to failure and this defeat will hurt like hell. And not just because they blinked first in a lottery at the end.
Solskjaer found himself outsmarted by a rival deemed not good enough to manage Arsenal. Someone who brought his negative team to Poland with one objective – to keep the game tight, take it to penalties and then win.
The fact Solskjaer allowed Unai Emery to carry out his masterplan is damning.
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While Solskjaer relied on the fickle hand of fate, Emery relied on those he sent into battle doing what they had been told to do.
This was United's 63rd game of the season and it showed. Missing captain Harry Maguire had already succumbed to injury in the build up, while the likes of Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes looked drained.
This is the reason United don't want to be in this competition in the first place. It flogs you to death.
Man Utd bench's X-rated instructions to Marcus Rashford during Europa League defeat
When Solskjaer flies home to lick his sizeable wounds, he will have to stomach the sight of Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea doing battle for the biggest prize in club football when they collide in tomorrow's Champions League final.
It will not improve his mood, but United fans will hope it will inspire him to sign the players he needs to never be in the position again of missing out on the booby prize of European club football.
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