Manchester United crossed the line again with Villarreal on Wednesday to avoid another European embarrassment and to ease the growing pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjیرr.
The Yellow Submarine Marathon emerged victorious 11-10 from a penalty shootout when the two sides last competed to win their first major trophy in the Europa League final in May.
The defeat extended the wait for Silverware as United boss after Solskir took charge in December 2019, but goalkeeper David de Gea was the man to fall in Gdansk.
The Spanish international’s failure to block a single Valerie penalty increased when he was the only player from both sides to fail to score on the spot.
At the time, it looked as if United could be number one, despite being one of the highest paid players in the Premier League, as in the days of De Gea.
Solskir had already handed Dame Henderson to the Premier League season and at least his decision not to bring in the England goalkeeper, who has a very good penalty record, became another stick that led to the final. Defeat your management.
But Henderson’s health was badly affected after a positive test for the corona virus during the pre-season, which gave De Jia gloves to start the campaign.
Despite the mixed bag of results, United would have been even worse if it hadn’t been for the 30-year-old’s return to form.
De Jia made a series of miraculous savings as the Red Devils escaped with a 1-0 win over the Wolves.
And he ended his streak of failing to save 41 penalties for the club and the country when he denied Mark Noble a halt to a dramatic 2-1 victory over West Ham.
“I try to train very well, to show that I am ready and then go into the game with the same passion, experience and quality for the team,” said De Jia. “I’m feeling good, I’m getting stronger, I’m feeling confident. I’m really happy and that’s the most important thing.”
However, the victories at Molineux and London Stadium have caused a rift in United’s unbalanced squad.
Despite the inclusion of Cristiano Ronaldo and Judon Sanchez in the attacking squad, the men of Solskir have lost three of their last four matches.
The English giants only qualified for the Europa League last season after losing in the group stages.
And anything less than revenge against Villarreal will put them in serious danger of doing so again after losing their group opener to the Swiss side Young Boys.
The excitement of Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford has intensified the scrutiny on Solskir to provide him with the charge for his third full season.
But his record of seven defeats in 11 games in the Champions League is not a good read.
Solskjیرr has not yet found the right midfield balance to carry the defensive load of his attacking talent.
And he can rely more on Degie if he is to be the subject of much suspicion due to injuries sustained by bodyguards Harry McGuire and Luke Shaw for the Men’s Emery tour.