Manchester United eased into the Europa league last 16 after a 0-0 home draw with Real Sociedad on Thursday completed a 4-0 aggregate win over the Spanish side in their round-of-32 clash. With one eye on Sunday’s Premier League clash against Chelsea, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started striker Marcus Rashford and defender Harry Maguire on the bench.
Solskjaer said United was determined to go further than last year when it reached the semifinals of the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup, and they also lost to Manchester City in this season's League Cup semis.
“You remember the defeats more so than the wins,” the Norwegian told BT Sport .
“To get the semifinals in any competition, you’re so close. We’ve had three of them, we’ve lost one, so this group knows how it feels. We want to go further but when you have failed before you want to do better.”
Sitting on a comfortable first-leg cushion, the home side looked lethargic in the opening 20 minutes and Sociedad missed a 13th-minute penalty as Mikel Oyarzabal scuffed his spot-kick wide after Daniel James fouled Andoni Gorosabel.
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United came to life as Bruno Fernandes rattled the crossbar with a swerving shot from 15 metres while Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Ramiro denied Anthony Martial and James.
Modibo Sagnan hit the woodwork for Sociedad with a close-range header shortly after the break before United substitute Axel Tuanzebe had a goal disallowed for Victor Lindelof’s foul on Jon Bautista. Fernandes made way for Rashford at the interval but United largely went through the motions in the second half as it sat back and kept the visitor at bay.
The home team’s substitute Shola Shoretire became the youngest United player to feature in European competition at the age of 17 and 23 days when he came on for Mason Greenwood in the 76th minute.
“Shola has got some skills and attributes we think will make him a very good player here,” Solskjaer said. “A platform tonight, just 15 minutes, something to build upon.”