Manchester United and Villarreal will tonight battle it out for the coveted Europa League trophy.
The duo are aiming to win a silverware to crown their season after both failing to mount a challenge in their respective Premier League and La Liga competitions.
The clash comes off at the Gdnask Stadium, Poland at 7:00 pm as Villarreal and Manchester United will face for the fifth time, with each of the previous four meetings finishing 0-0 in the UEFA Champions League between 2005-06 and 2008-09. Manchester United have faced Villarreal more times without ever scoring than they have any other opponent in their history.
The latter are competing in their first ever European final while United are seasoned competitors at this stage of the season, going for their seventh major honor and another Europa League trophy to follow the one they raised in 2017.
Yet in the dugouts the roles are reversed as Unai Emery chases his fourth Europa League whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks for a first trophy as United manager.
Unai Emery’s record in this competition speaks for itself.
He suffered defeat in the Europa League final with Arsenal in 2019 but the former Sevilla boss heads into Wednesday’s game – his fifth final in the competition – aiming to become only the fourth manager in history to have won four major European trophies after Jose Mourinho, Bob Paisley and Giovanni Trappatoni.
What the managers are saying..
Unai Emery says he will be coming out with a strategy a cause havoc for his opponent tonight
“Every final is different,” said the Unai EMery, who has guided Villarreal to the final unbeaten. “The four previous finals I’ve played, in some I was favourite and some others I was not.
“To be favourite, it’s always before the game, isn’t it? Then when you play those 90 minutes, to be able to have situations on your side, offensively, defensively, that mood, that spirit you can create in your team plays a lot.
“For tomorrow we are very enthusiastic, we have got answers from the team at some important moments of the season so we know now we have a very, very strong and robust team.
“Of course Manchester United can be favourite, they are very good and if they play their best they can beat anyone but we will try and find some responses against this big team.”
Asked if he felt he had something extra to prove after his spell at the Gunners – who he knocked out in the Europa League semi-finals – the Spaniard added: “No, not at all. I am very proud to be able to defend this Villarreal project, the president and everyone who has been working for years to be constructing in this village, in the end, such a big football project in Europe.
“I want to enjoy it. There’s no revenge with any English team or English people.
“I’m proud to work in this club and proud to be playing this final, defending Villarreal’s colours.”
On the otherhand, Solskjaer hopes success tonight for his outfit can prove to be a catalyst for bigger things at Old Trafford.
“We have five wins in Europe,” the Norwegian said. “We’ve lost twice to Barcelona.
“These are big nights for us. It might be the stepping stone for something better to come, a bright future because this team is a young team.
“It’s a team that we’ve rebuilt over the last couple of years, so hopefully this is the start of something more.”
Manchester United will be waiting to see if captain Harry Maguire will pass a late fitness test to play in the match while Nigerian international Samuel Chukwueze is in line to make his Villarreal return after recovering from injury.