Harry Maguire has admitted that Manchester United were “edgy” during their second-leg defeat to Roma while likening the contest to a basketball match due to its end-to-end nature.
United went down 3-2 at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night, but still managed to progress to the Europa League final 8-5 on aggregate courtesy of their 6-2 victory at Old Trafford last week.
Maguire was relieved that the Red Devils were able to qualify for the showpiece after an under-par showing in Rome, and singled out Edinson Cavani for special praise for his two-goal showing.
What’s been said?
“It’s a great achievement to get to the final,” the United captain told BT Sport. “We didn’t win the game and that’s disappointing but we did the hard work in the first leg.
“We started the game a bit edgy. It was end to end like basketball and we gave them too many chances in the second half. Now we’ve got to go to the final and win it.”
Maguire added on Cavani’s contribution: “Edinson scored two great goals and his movement and work rate without the ball is excellent.
“His second goal is typical of him and what he has done throughout his career.”
Man Utd come through rollercoaster Roma tie
The Red Devils gave themselves plenty of margin for error in Italy after their thumping victory over Roma in Manchester, during which Cavani and Bruno Fernandes both netted braces and Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood also got in on the act.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side made a strong start at Stadio Olimpico too, with Cavani firing a fierce effort past Giallorossi goalkeeper Antonio Mirante in the 39th minute after being played through by Fred.
However, Roma battled back early in the second half with goals from Edin Dzeko and Bryan Cristante, which gave the Serie A outfit faint hope of a miraculous recovery for a short while.
United levelled the scores in the 68th minute when Cavani headed in a beautifully flighted Fernandes cross to put pay to that notion, but the hosts still managed to earn the victory on the night thanks to a late own goal from Alex Telles.
The tie produced a total of 13 goals, equalling the record for the joint highest tally in two legs of a European semi-final set by Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers back in the 1959-60 European Cup – which ended 12-4.
Who will Man Utd play in the final?
Man Utd have been rewarded for seeing off Roma with a final date against Villarreal at Stadion Energa Gdansk in Poland on May 26.
Arsenal failed to set up an all-English showpiece event after losing 2-1 on aggregate to Villarreal, who will be appearing in their first-ever European final under Unai Emery.