Man Utd: Solskjaer urges team to use Europa pain to rebuild
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Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at former club Manchester United, claiming that the Red Devils had a bad season despite finishing second in the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer guided United to their highest finish since they came runners-up in 2017-18 under Mourinho. However, rivals Manchester City maintained a 12-point margin at the top.
Mourinho was appointed as United boss in the summer of 2016 and won the Europa League in his first season. They came sixth in the top-flight that year.
The Portuguese then guided them to a second-placed finish in his second year but failed to overcome City.
He was eventually dismissed in December 2018 and replaced by Solskjaer.
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The former United striker has guided them to sixth, third and second-placed finishes during his two and a half years in charge.
However, Mourinho has brutally pointed out that Solskjaer failed to win the Europa League and that last season should not be considered positive.
The Red Devils reached the final following an enthralling European run, which included an 8-5 aggregate semi-final win over Roma.
But they were beaten by Villarreal after a dramatic penalty shootout.
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Goalkeeper David De Gea had the vital spot-kick saved. It meant that United have still not won a trophy since Mourinho guided them to success in the same competition four years ago.
“I am very optimistic but I am very realistic. When we did that at Manchester United by winning the Europa League, and the domestic cup, I felt for the next step it would not be enough,” Mourinho told comedian James Corden in an interview with the Sun.
“This season, people were saying: ‘Great season, you finished second.’
“I’d say: ‘We finished second. It’s a bad season’.”
Corden prompted Mourinho to expand. The Portuguese continued: “I like Manchester United, the fans were amazing with me.
“And I think it is good for them that another season without trophies is seen as positive.
“But with me the level of expectation coming from the media is completely different.”
Solskjaer has said that there is evidence of improvements during his tenure.
The 47-year-old has challenged his players to go one better next season by winning the top-flight, but will likely need heavy investment during the transfer window.
“We’re not where we aimed to be but we’ve got ambitions to move up one place,” Solskjaer said after his side’s 2-1 win over Wolves on the final day of the season.
“But there’s been steady improvement. Third last season, second this season, some more points. We’ve done really well away from home.
“We know we had a difficult start to the season, losing three of the first six games and loads of them were home games, which put pressure on the team.
“The players have been very, very good.”
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