Why United will grow from three semi-final defeats
Losing three semi-finals in one season is a frustrating experience, but it does not take away from the significant progress that Manchester United made throughout the 2019/20 season.
Of course, silverware is always the main aim at Old Trafford and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was desperate to win a trophy in his first full season as manager. His squad came close, too, by reaching the last four in the Carabao Cup, Emirates FA Cup and Europa League, only to suffer cruel defeats.
Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Sevilla in Germany brought a close to our campaign and provided an opportunity to assess the squad’s efforts as whole, with many pundits keen to look at the bigger picture.
As respected analyst and Class of '92 graduate Ben Thornley explained on MUTV, Solskjaer’s Reds will learn from the experience of 2019/20 and return for the new campaign with even more determination.
“The season ends on a disappointment and, after losing three semi-finals, the players are going away with the feeling of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride, after getting so close to getting [their] hands on trophies,” explained Thornley.
“But let's not take away what has been achieved in the league and especially since the restart. I don't think anybody had us down to finish fourth and never mind third, so it was a brilliant effort from the lads and this was just one tiny step too far.
“They haven't got much time to regroup and relax. Obviously, they will get a little bit of time to spend with their families and go on holiday, if they can find somewhere to go without having to quarantine afterwards, but it is going to be a bitter pill to swallow because they have put in a monumental effort since 19 June when we played Spurs.
“In the end, the players have only got a Champions League place and I say 'only' because they were so, so close to the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League. It has just proven to be beyond their grasp, but that won't happen next season, when they get into this position, because I am sure the players will have more experience. There will be more young players that have come in and the manager will have moulded the team into the way he wants it to be, with the personnel that he likes, to move us forward. We have seen big evidence of that, so far.
“We are still just that little way short of coming out winners and that is where Ole is trying to get this team to. He has taken great steps so far and there are still other steps to go, but we are going in the right direction.
“This is a learning curve. The players will undoubtedly go away this summer, think about it, they will be spoken to by the coaching staff and they will be better players, and stronger people, for it. That is what we are hoping for come the restart in September and I am sure we will.”
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