Ole says United need to strengthen
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels Manchester United need to strengthen the first XI by making key signings over the summer.
The boss responded to the agonising penalty shoot-out defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final during his post-match press conference and was asked a variety of questions after the 1-1 draw.
The Spanish side took the trophy 11-10 on spot-kicks when David De Gea was the first player to miss and Ole accepts there is another step for the squad to take as the summer transfer window opens next month. This is particularly pertinent because he feels other clubs will also be bolstering their options.
“I’ve been delighted with the effort, desire, determination of all the players," Ole admitted in Gdansk. "I can’t fault them at all and we’ve probably done as well as anyone could have imagined. So yeah, those of us who are here now need to do better, we need to work better, work harder, cleverer.
“But as I’ve said, two or three players to strengthen the starting XI and the squad altogether. It’s important for us to go even further because I’m sure our challengers will also want to improve so we will want to improve as much as we can.”
Ole was also asked about his policy regarding substitutions during the final, including whether the thought of switching Dean Henderson for De Gea simply for the shoot-out was an option.
“We felt the players out there, you have got Mason [Greenwood], Marcus [Rashford, who are] matchwinners in their own right," he replied. "Bruno [Fernandes], Edi [Cavani], of course, they can create anything. Scott McTominay was absolutely outstanding out there. For me, he was the best player on the pitch.
“So it is difficult to make that change, especially when Fred has been injured for a week, and he came on and he did well, the boy. But we just couldn’t create enough chances to win the game. When they have [Pau] Torres and [Raul] Albiol in there to make crosses it is always going to be difficult. We needed to play our way into the box quicker.
"You go through every scenario, of course and it has crossed my mind in the build-up to the game but we were confident in David. We prepared but, in a penalty shoot-out, anything can happen in those, so I stuck with the keeper who played all the game.
“I have got to say that the penalty shoot-out was high quality but we didn’t do enough in 120 minutes to score more goals. And that is the disappointing bit; that we built pressure, that we had moments when we felt that if we could just kick on a little bit now, then you can get the goal, but we just couldn’t.”