Teams with flaky defences do not tend to win cup finals. United’s defence remains a concern even if their attack, led by the evergreen Cavani means they are a constant threat. To score eight times over two games in a semi final is impressive whatever way you look at things.
But this is not just about the Europa League. United will finish second in the Premier League barring a late season collapse, but that is not a cause for celebration. Just as losing to Villarreal in the final will not be either.
No real harm done, but is it a sign of weakness? United have plenty of talent but do they have the mentality of champions? Teams that win the league never switch off, they win again and again, week after week.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the threshold of his first final as Manchester United manager but he has warned against complacency, saying there have been “bigger upsets” than the one Roma require in the Europa League.
Having lost in four semi-finals over the past two seasons, Solskjaer is trying to make it fifth time lucky by virtue of last week’s 6-2 first-leg thrashing of Romulus and Remus’s fave raves at Old Trafford.
United became the first side to score six in a European semi-final since 1964 and are overriding favourites to reach the Gdansk final on May 26, but Solskjaer is taking nothing for granted.
“As a team we need to develop, we need to improve. We know we’re not at the standard yet where we can go into a game thinking we can play on the result,” he said.
“We’re not going to play on the result. We’re going to play to win that game. That’s the only way I think we should approach these games to develop, to test ourselves, to challenge ourselves.
“Of course, there might be one or two changes in the selection because of the games coming up as well, but we have to get into a final.
“Everyone says it’s done. It’s not because I’ve seen bigger upsets that this. Roma has been part of big upsets, they beat Barcelona not long ago after being 4-1 down.”
Daniel James is not part of the 24-man party in Italy. The winger has stayed at Carrington with the two long-term absentees Phil Jones and Anthony Martial.
For Roma Gianluca Mancini returns from suspension but Pau Lopez, who dislocated his shoulder at Old Trafford, is out for the rest of the season. The two other players who had to depart with injuries last Thursday, Jordan Veretout and Leonardo Spinazzola, were ruled out at the weekend along with Carles Perez and Amadou Diawara.
The team news should be here imminently.
This content was originally published here.