Man Utd losing the Europa League final is unthinkable for Solskjaer and will give more ammunition to the Ole Out brigade
OLE Gunnar Solskjaer will say it’s not about him tonight – but it is.
For his journey as manager of Manchester United, a defeat is unthinkable, and will only feed those that say that he isn’t the man to lead the club, and that his plan will never deliver success.
Solskjaer has led United to numerous semi-finals since his appointment, but never all the way to a final let alone win a competition.
The players talk about 'trusting the process' on social media, and a win against Villarreal tonight, alongside a second place finish in the Premier League, would be progress.
It would also install some extra belief in the players. It would show that in comparison to last season, the team has improved, another trophy is in the club museum, and some renewed hope and confidence will be taken before the start of the next campaign.
A victory this evening might also give Solskjaer a little bit more financial power when it comes to spending this summer.
Providing the trophy is lifted this evening, the Norwegian will have delivered a higher place league finish than 12 months ago and a European trophy, one the club has only won once before.
The final is United's eighth in Europe, where they’ve been crowned winners in five of the previous seven, losing only against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2008-09 and 2010-11.
It might be fifth time lucky tonight as well. The finalists are meeting for the fifth time, with each of the previous four meetings finishing 0-0 in the Champions League in 2005-06 and 2008-09.
Solskjaer will contest only his second final in his managerial career in Gdansk, having won the 2013 Norwegian Cup with Molde, and if he’s successful would be the first Norwegian manager to win a major European trophy.
On the pitch there’s decisions to be made. Does David De Gea start ahead of Dean Henderson?
And what about Mason Greenwood? At the age of 19 years and 237 days he could become only the second English teenager to score in a major European final after Brian Kidd, who scored on his 19th birthday for United in the 1968 European Cup final against Benfica.
Harry Maguire will not feature despite Solskjaer refusing to speculate on the defender's injury, so Axel Tuanzebe or Eric Bailly will slot in next to Victor Lindelof.
Sir Alex Ferguson travelled with the team to Poland, and on the 22nd anniversary of the 1999 Champions League final and Sir Matt Busby’s birthday, you wonder if United supporters are in for more magic this evening.
Another glory period might be on the horizon but the only way we'll really know is if United and Solskjaer can bring the Europa League trophy back to Old Trafford.
Failure to do so won’t cost Solskjaer his job, but will worry some fans who simply don't believe he’s the man to catch Manchester City and Pep Guardiola.
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