The Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time, and the Spanish outfit managed to outscore them in the penalty shootout.
Villarreal took the lead midway through the first half when Gerard Moreno scored from a set-piece. Manchester United scored the equalizer through Edinson Cavani ten minutes into the second half.
Neither side managed to carve out clear cut opportunities in extra time, and David De Gea missed a crucial penalty in the shootout for the Premier League side.
Another disappointing Marcus Rashford display
The Manchester United striker put on an abysmal performance in the final against Villarreal, and the Red Devils must look to sign a quality forward in the summer if they want to win titles next year.
There is no doubt that Rashford is a talented young player, but he has been way too inconsistent since breaking into the first team, and he lacked in confidence and sharpness tonight.
Scott McTominay was Manchester United’s best performer
The Manchester United defensive midfielder is probably one of the few individuals who can come away from the game with their head held high.
He was excellent in the defensive midfield role, and he did his best to shield the centre backs and break up the Villarreal play time and again.
Edinson Cavani is one of Manchester United’s best signing in years
Since his move to Old Trafford, the Uruguayan international has been very useful, and he’s proving to be one of Manchester United’s best acquisitions in recent seasons.
Before tonight’s game, Cavani had scored 14 goals in 17 Cup finals, and he managed to get on the score sheet tonight as well.
Harry Maguire’s absence was felt
Manchester United captain was on the bench for this crucial match, as he has been recuperating from injury and did not have match fitness. The other centrebacks could not provide leadership to United defence.
David De Gea has passed his prime
The Spaniard has not been at his best for over a year now, and his performance in the penalty shootout was quite mediocre. Though going to penalties after 120 minutes is a pity to the side which ends up losing, but Statistics says de Gea has not saved a penalty since 2016.
Not only did he fail to save any of Villarreal’s penalties, but he also missed a crucial 11th attempt in the tie-breaker that handed the Europa League title to the Spanish team.
Dean Henderson does not have big-match experience, and he has also been exposed to pressure situation where Manchester United defence did not have leadership.
Unai Emery is the undisputed King of the Europa League
The Spanish manager has proven time and again that he is one of the best in the business when it comes to winning the Europa League.
He managed to win the trophy in 2014, 2015, 2016 and now in 2021.
Emery was beaten in the finals with Arsenal in 2019, and apart from that, he has enjoyed great success in the competition with Sevilla and Villarreal.
The former Arsenal manager got his tactics and substitutions spot on tonight, and he clearly outfoxed his adversary Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in their biggest game of the season.