Manchester United booked their ticket to Stockholm to face Ajax in the Europa League final, despite an intense 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo in the second leg.
Marouanne Fellaini headed United into an early lead on 17 minutes but Roncaglia equalised in the closing stages. This led to a nail biting finale for the Old Trafford faithful, who’s anxious minds were taunted by another six minutes of stoppage time.
The road to Stockholm has been bumpy for Manchester United but Eric Bailly will be unable to finish his journey in the Swedish capital. The Ivorian international was dismissed for slapping Guidetti and Celta defender Roncaglia was also given his marching orders for retaliating to the altercation.
Marcus Rashford’s stunning free-kick in the first leg has proved to be the decisive strike to lead the red devils into the final. The Europa League seems the likeliest route into Europe for Jose Mourinho’s men this season.
They are lagging behind in the race for top four, following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The Europa League dream was also almost in pieces but John Guidetti blundered his last-gasp opportunity from pint-point range.
Dutch giants Ajax defeated Lyon over the two legs in the other semi-final to reach their first European final in 21 years. Manchester United will head into the clash as favourites but Ajax’s young fruitful squad will prove tough opposition in Stockholm.
Mourinho’s Debut Season – Successful or Unsuccessful
It’s a major debate floating around Old Trafford and it’s regarding Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho. Yes, he’s always in the spotlight, regarding the supporters and the press. He’s clinched the EFL Cup and a spot in the Europa League final but was he right to trade a top four finish for European glory?
I think that question will be answered on Wednesday 24th May at the Friends Arena in Stockholm. Manchester United will face arguably their toughest test in their Europa League campaign and it’s likely to decide their fate next season.
Van Gaal failed to qualify for the Champions League last season and finished sixth place in the Premier League. The Dutchman did however, win the FA Cup with a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace in extra time.
Unfortunately for LVG, time was up and he was sacked and subsequently replaced by the “special one”. Mourinho swooped into Old Trafford and was expected to guide United back to the early days.
The performances have evidently improved this season and this was also statistically shown by their recent 25-match unbeaten run. However, they’ve drawn 14 matches this season, which is unacceptable and have been unable to convert chances.
If United secure the Europa League and finish the season positively, it’s been a successful season in my eyes. Mourinho is likely to improve on the squad in the summer and the future should remain bright at the Theatre of Dreams.