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Football Reporting

Champions League

Europa League title could push Man United to greater things


Winning the Europa League this season would give Manchester United a solid platform from which to challenge for greater honours, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Tuesday.

United take on Villarreal in the final of Europe’s second-tier club competition on May 26 in Gdansk, Poland after beating AS Roma 8-5 on aggregate in the semifinals.

– Prem top-four race: Liverpool, Chelsea or Leicester to miss out?

Solskjaer drew on his experience of lifting the Champions League in United’s unprecedented Treble-winning 1998-1999 season, saying it instilled a sense of belief in the squad that helped them reach greater heights in subsequent campaigns.

“When we won [the Champions League] in ’99, of course, it made history,” he told a news conference. “It didn’t make me a better player; it didn’t make us individually better players.

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“But as a group, we believed that we ccould go on to win more stuff and we comfortably won the [Premier] league the next couple of seasons. We couldn’t repeat the Champions League, but it still gives you a lot as a group.

“Now, we’re in a final and I think we’re ready for the next step. To get to a final is one thing; when you get to a final, you need to win it or you want to win it. You don’t get a prize for attending.”

United have no major injury concerns ahead of the game, added Solskjaer, who has yet to win any silverware as the manager at Old Trafford.

“When you get to a final and have most of them [players] fit, you’re in a good position,” he said.

“The hardest bit is to win. We’ve had a long season. Manchester United has meant a lot to me throughout my life and to be able to lead a team out is going to be a proud moment for me.

“It’s going to be great to see the players we’ve worked with for 2-1/2 years take a step into a final after the near misses we’ve had.”

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