Paul Scholes says Manchester United’s recent semi-final failures ‘hurt’ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but insists Europa League CAN be the turning point because Red Devils ‘are much better’ than fellow favourites Arsenal and Tottenham
- Man United drew 0-0 with Real Sociedad to move to the Europa League last-16
- The Red Devils achieved the success after a 4-0 first-leg win in Turin last week
- Paul Scholes says United’s recent lack of cup success hurts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- United have exited their last four cup competitions at the semi-final stage
Paul Scholes claims Manchester United’s lack of success ‘hurts’ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Red Devils sealed their Europa League last-16 spot with a 4-0 aggregate win over Real Sociedad.
United made it safely through to another European knockout round with a goalless draw at Old Trafford on Thursday night, which was enough after the club’s thumping first-leg victory in neutral venue Turin last week.
The Europa League was one of three competitions where Solskjaer’s side exited via the semi-final stage last season, while United also lost in the Carabao Cup last four earlier this year.
Paul Scholes claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (above) is ‘hurt’ by Man United’s lack of cup success
Man United secured a Europa League last-16 spot with a 4-0 aggregate win over Real Sociedad
Former United midfielder Scholes believes the current Red Devils boss feels pained by the lack of success in cup competitions, with Liverpool and Manchester City dominating the Premier League title race over the years.
Scholes told BT Sport: ‘It hurts him. Four semi-finals for him which isn’t great because you need to go to that level now.
‘You’ve seen them do well to get to second in the league, then fall away. They went top then unfortunately they went on a sticky run and fell away.
Scholes called on United’s first-team players to step up and deliver several trophies this term
‘They have got to find that extra quality, big players in big games. If Man Utd want to go to the next level, win titles, win cups – these players need to step up.’
Despite the triumphant first-leg result against Sociedad last week, Solskjaer picked a strong second-leg side that included starts for Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial while Marcus Rashford was a second-half substitute.
Scholes highlighted the importance of Portuguese star Fernandes, who has 22 goals in 38 matches so far this season, in United’s bid for success – but called on the club’s other stars to step up to the mark.
Scholes claims 22-goal hero Bruno Fernandes cannot achieve United success by himself
The ex-midfielder added: ‘There’s no doubt he (Fernandes) is a great player, great quality, he has to lead this team to trophies. He can’t do it by himself.
‘There’s a nucleus at the club that is good enough to nearly win something. They’ve haven’t improved yet to win something, they have to do that.’
But Scholes does believe, however, that the Europa League is a brilliant opportunity for the club to create a culture of winning despite a top-four spot and Champions League qualification being pretty secure via the domestic route.
Scholes also claims United can win the Europa League as they have the best tournament squad
There are several British teams remaining in the competition as Arsenal, Tottenham and Rangers secured progression to the last-16 stage this week as well.
Scholes claimed: ‘Man United can (win the Europa), not sure about the other (British) teams. Man Utd have the best squad in the competition. This is a great chance for United to win something.
‘They (the other British clubs) think they are in a good chance, but Man United are much better than Arsenal and Tottenham. Italian football and Spanish football are nowhere near as good as it used to be.’