Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to help Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in a thrilling EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Swedish forward handed Jose Mourinho his first trophy as Manchester United manager, even though his team was not the better side in the match.
Jose Mourinho, who has fond memories of winning the competition as it is the first trophy the Portuguese manager won in England with Chelsea 12 years ago, was muted in his celebration for his fourth victory in the competition which ties him with Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough as the most successful managers in the competition’s history.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho admitted that his side was second best on the field, hence his lack of celebration.
”In a match where our opponent was better than us for most of the game, he (Zlatan) made the difference. They deserved to go to extra time.”
”I’m a bit emotional, it’s not easy to win titles so many times, to take pressure that I put myself under with my career and yes it was a game that I was feeling the difficulty. I want to pay homage, Southampton deserve and the only thing I can say is we have the cup in our hands but we should be in extra time.”
Zlatan opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a well-executed free kick from outside the box.
In the 38th minute, Jesse Lingard doubled the advantage for the Red Devils with a decent finish that went through defender Maya Yoshida’s legs past Fraser Forster.
The better side found themselves 2 goals down but kept plugging away and were able to pull one back through Manolo Gabbiadini, who already had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, seconds before the interval.
Southampton went into the break on the high and completed their comeback just three minutes after the restart through Gabbiadini who showed his poaching skills and body strength to hold off Chris Smalling before shooting into the corner past De Gea.
It was extasy for the Saints who began to look more controlling and the likely winners of the EFL Cup.
Both teams attacked each other as extra time looked certain until, Ibrahimovic, who looked very tired, burst into life to head United to victory in the 87th minute.
The victory made Jose Mourinho the first manager to win the EFL Cup (league cup) with different clubs and the first Manchester United manager to win a trophy in his first season in charge.
”This is a team effort, not individual, it’s collective and this is what I came here for, to win. The more I win the more satisfied I get, that’s me,” said Zlatan.
“You appreciate it more the older you get. Wherever I have gone I have won. I think this is trophy number 32 for me.”
”This is what I predicted, everything I saw happened. Others didn’t see it. Apparently to many, I could not do it. My friend, I keep doing it. The only thing is now I’m enjoying it in England.”