Ole: Another night like '99 will make us believe

Sunday 16 May 2021 14:39

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels the legacy of Europa League success later this month would be more significant than just being his first silverware as Manchester United manager.

Speaking on Sunday afternoon, at an early press conference to preview the 26 May final against Villarreal, the Reds boss recalled the impact that lifting European silverware had during his playing days.

“When we won in 1999, of course it made history but it didn't make me a better player,” said Ole, referring of course to the Champions League final in which he scored the winning goal.
Watch in full: Ole's early press conference for the Europa League final.
“It didn’t make us individually better players but as a group we believed we could go on to win more stuff. We comfortably won the league in the next couple of seasons. We couldn’t repeat the Champions League success but still it gives you a lot as a group.

“Time will tell what it will do to the team [if we win the Europa League]. Trophies can hide other facts.

The opportunity to manage United in a final is something Solskjaer has craved, and come very close to several times before, since becoming caretaker boss in December 2018 and permanent manager in March 2019.

Now he can look forward to a showpiece occasion in Gdansk, having successfully guided his team through the last-four stage of a competition by beating Roma over two legs.
“We've done it the hard way, losing four semi-finals,” said Ole, acknowledging two exits in the Carabao Cup, one in the FA Cup and last season's Europa League loss to Sevilla.

“We've felt we’ve come a long way. Now we’re in a final and I think we're ready for the next step.

“Manchester United has meant a lot to me throughout my life as well. Of course, to be able to lead the team out in a final is going to be a proud moment for me. It’s going to be great to see the players we have worked with for two-and-a-half years now and we’ve taken the step into a final after the near misses we’ve had.

“But to get to a final is one thing. When you get to a final you need to win it, or you want to win it. You don’t get a prize for attending. We're all focused and I can't wait to see the players walk out on that pitch.”