Everyone knows that three semi-final defeats in the same season is not good enough for Manchester United.
But for the young players involved, those disappointments should provide the lessons which help them go on and achieve success for the club in the future.
Brandon Williams is no different.
Williams was part of the defence which was swept away by Manchester City in January’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg.
That will have stung a local boy who knows what the club is all about, and he did get to taste victory at the Etihad Stadium in the second leg – but United were still eliminated.
In the absence of Luke Shaw, he also faced Chelsea at Wembley and Sevilla in Lisbon, with United losing on both occasions.
Williams played poorly in both matches, giving the ball away for Mason Mount’s goal last month before losing Suso for Sunday night’s equaliser.
That said, he has a tough, resilient character and it could be the making of him.
It has been made plain the level he has to get to if he wants to be United’s left back, and he won’t want to experience that intense disappointment again. That spurs players on.
Arriving ahead of time
It is not intended as a criticism of Williams to say that he was probably not expected to progress as quickly as he has – or play as big a part in United’s 2019/20 campaign as he did.
Ashley Young was Luke Shaw’s deputy at the start of the season, but an outstanding display against Partizan Belgrade in October meant Solskjaer couldn’t ignore him for much longer.
To go from breaking onto the scene in the autumn to starting four semi-final ties for United in the same season is an outstanding achievement.
Williams shouldn’t be chastised too much for being slightly exposed by elite opposition; he just needs to get his head down and come back stronger.
He’s got all the attributes United fans want to see in their teams and it’s all about how he responds to recent disappointments now.
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