21 consecutive penalties were converted in a remarkable penalty shoot-out in Gdansk but De Gea saw his effort saved by Geronimo Rulli, who had just done the business from 12 yards moments prior.
It gave Villarreal a first trophy in their entire history and extended United’s run without silverware to four seasons.
De Gea’s disappointment was evident as he, like many of his teammates, removed their runners up medals from their necks.
But as he headed towards the tunnel and back to the dressing room, he was greeted by Ferguson, the man who brought him to Old Trafford as a 20-year-old back in 2011.
The legendary United boss flew over to Gdansk to support the team and was also on the podium for Villarreal’s trophy presentation.
But afterwards he also made a point of consoling De Gea, with the two sharing an embrace and walking down the tunnel side-by-side according to The Athletic.
The gesture will no doubt have been highly appreciated by De Gea, who was understandably gutted.
Substitute goalkeeper Dean Henderson, meanwhile has saved eight of 19 penalties he’s faced in his career.
“You go through every scenario, of course, and it [bringing on Henderson] had crossed my mind in the build-up to the game, but we were confident in David and prepared,” Solskjaer said after the defeat.
“Anything can happen in a penalty shootout, so I stuck with the keeper who had played all of the game.”