Man Utd prove Paul Scholes right after "unforgivable" moment en route to Europa League

Manchester United are targeting a first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when they face Villarreal in Gdansk, and Scholes' prediction f...

Manchester United are targeting a first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when they face Villarreal in Gdansk, and Scholes' prediction for the season has proved correct - almost.


Manchester United are targeting silverware in tonight's Europa League final against Villarreal - and have proved Paul Scholes right after an "unforgivable" moment proved a crucial turning point.

After a bad start to the season which saw United lose three of their opening four home games, chances of a first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were looking remote.

And the Red Devils' campaign hit a new low when they suffered a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir.

European football had proved a source of optimism for United up to that point, with wins over Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig coming in between a 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham and a poor defeat to Arsenal - both of which were at Old Trafford.

But their Champions League bid began to unravel thanks to poor defending in Turkey, after they fell behind to a goal described by Solskjaer as "unforgivable".

Demba Ba celebates after capitalising on 'unforgivable' defending by Manchester United
Demba Ba celebates after capitalising on 'unforgivable' defending by Manchester United 

United lost possession from a short corner, and unmarked Basaksehir striker Demba Ba was allowed to run from inside his own half onto a long ball over the top before firing past Dean Henderson.

“The first goal, we played a short corner and forgot about the man up top - that's unforgivable," said the manager after a second-half header from Anthony Martial proved a mere consolation following Edin Visca's goal five minutes before half-time.

The defeat piled the pressure on Solskjaer, who was facing questions over his future in the United hotseat.

But not everybody was panicking, as Red Devils legend Paul Scholes predicted his former side's fortunes would improve after Christmas - although he acknowledged their poor start to the season had probably cost them any genuine hopes of a title challenge.

"If they were going to make any challenge on this season they needed to start it well," said Scholes on BT Sport.

"It feels like we're going to see a carbon copy of last season. A really poor start to the season - I think at some point, with the players they've got, they will find their form."

The former England man added: "They probably will go on a big run. Probably finish top four. Probably get to a semi-final and lose."

Of course, that reverse in Turkey set United on course for the Europa League, with PSG and Leipzig going on to avenge their defeats.

And Scholes was to be proved right - on every point except one.

That defeat to Arsenal proved United's last in the Premier League for nearly three months, as they won 10 games in an unbeaten 13-match run that took them to the top of the table, only to be deposed by eventual champions Manchester City.

Solskjaer's side secured a Champions League spot by finishing second to a City side whose unbeaten run was even better, with Pep Guardiola's side winning 21 games in a row in all competitions before United beat them in their own backyard.

But Wednesday's showdown against Villarreal gives them the chance to better Scholes' prediction for how the season would pan out.

While their FA Cup run was ended at the quarter-final stage by eventual winners Leicester City, in the Europa League they overcame their semi-final hoodoo to beat Roma over two leg.

And victory over Villarreal in Gdansk will raise hopes that Solskjaer can lead the side to more silverware in the coming seasons.

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GistLobby⚽: Man Utd prove Paul Scholes right after "unforgivable" moment en route to Europa League
Man Utd prove Paul Scholes right after "unforgivable" moment en route to Europa League
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