Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his side’s 3-2 Europa League semi-final second leg defeat to AS Roma on Thursday could have ended as a 6-6 draw and he praised goalkeeper David de Gea’s performance.
An 8-5 aggregate win propelled United into the final, where they will meet Spanish side Villarreal in Gdansk on May 26.
Solskjaer’s side already had one foot in the final before travelling to Rome after scoring five second half goals in a 6-2 first leg win at Old Trafford last week, but the return leg made for an open and entertaining encounter.
“It feels good. We played one very good half at Old Trafford, which brought us through,” Solskjaer told BT Sport.
“I never like to lose a game, especially the way we did it but it was always going to be one of these games that was going to be open, with chances for both teams.
“It could have been 6-6 or 8-6 to them! It was a strange game of football.”
Edinson Cavani scored twice for United either side of goals from Roma’s Edin Dzeko and Bryan Cristante, but an 83rd-minute Alex Telles own goal gave the Italians a consolation victory.
It could have been a more comfortable win for the hosts were it not for a superb display by De Gea, who made a string of outstanding saves, several from point-blank range.
“We kept losing the ball in difficult positions but luckily we have got one of the best goalkeepers in the world and luckily we have a No. 9 who wants to score goals. Edinson and David, two top performances by them,” Solskjaer said.
“It’s a team effort. We’ve had some ups and downs. The second half was disappointing, very poor, but we’re in the final and we’re looking forward to May 26. It’s a one-off. Anything can happen but we’ll prepare well.”