Manchester United are ‘a million miles away’ from winning the Premier League, claims Arsenal hero Paul Merson

Paul Merson believes Manchester United are stagnating under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Paul Merson believes Manchester United are stagnating under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Pictures: Getty)

Manchester United are ‘a million miles away’ from winning the Premier League and were ‘shocking’ in their Europa League final defeat, says Arsenal hero Paul Merson.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who finished second in the Premier League this season, suffered a dramatic 11-10 penalty shootout defeat to Spanish side Villarreal in the final of the Europa League.

The gut-wrenching loss means Manchester United have still not won a trophy since 2017, when they lifted the Europa League under former boss Jose Mourinho.

United last won the Premier League in 2012-13 under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Merson believes the club’s may be waiting a while yet for their next title, with the current team ‘miles away’ from challenging the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.

‘You’ve got to look at the all-round picture here,’ Merson told Sky Sports. ‘How can Manchester United win the league?

‘Villarreal brought on five players, just before the 90 minutes were up and you’d have never known that they were any less good than the ones that started the game.

‘If you’d have started watching the game in extra time, you’d have just thought it was their team. But you look at Manchester United, everyone they bring on weakens the team.

Solskjaer reacts after Man Utd lose Europa League final on penalties

‘Manchester United are a million miles off. Everyone says they’ve cut the gap to Man City down to 12 points from 33 points, but what difference does it make? It could be 60 points but if you don’t win the league, what difference does it make?

‘People also say about having a better season this year because they got more points but some of these teams finished five places lower this year.

‘It doesn’t work like that. I’d rather have 10 less points and win the league than 25 points more and come second. People get carried away with stats and points. United are a million miles away, and that was shown on Wednesday.

‘Villarreal are an average team. They finished seventh in La Liga. We saw what Chelsea did to Real Madrid, who came second in the league.

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery guided Villarreal to Europa League glory
Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery guided Villarreal to Europa League glory (Picture: Getty)

‘Chelsea dismantled them. We saw what Chelsea did to Atletico Madrid, who won the league. They dismantled them.

‘It’s an average team and Manchester United couldn’t put them away. For all the play they had, they didn’t even look like putting them away.’

Merson thought Man United were ‘shocking’ in the Europa League final and says the defeat was ’embarrassing’ for Solskjaer.

‘It was really disappointing for Manchester United,’ he added. ‘Actually, I thought it was shocking, if I’m being honest.

‘I watched the game and even after extra time, 120 minutes off football, neither goalkeeper had to make a save.

‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got embarrassed really. Villarreal made the five substitutions and it was really clever from Unai Emery. They had the fresher legs in extra time, and they didn’t really look like losing.

‘They looked the better team and Solskjaer just didn’t react. He just didn’t change it up and they paid the price in the end.’

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