London: Jose Mourinho was overcome with emotion after a thrilling 3-2 win against Southampton in the League Cup final gave the Manchester United manager the first major trophy of his reign. Mourinho's side were below par for long periods at Wembley but still ended up with the silverware thanks to the ageless Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Written off by many when he joined United on a free transfer, Ibrahimovic has now scored 26 times this term after striking twice, including the 87th minute winner, to kill off Southampton. Ibrahimovic's goals allowed Mourinho to celebrate the 19th major prize of his glittering career.
The 54-year-old is the first United manager to win major silverware in his maiden season at Old Trafford. He is also only the third manager ever to win the League Cup four times, after lifting the trophy three times with Chelsea.
"I'm a bit emotional, yes. It's not easy to win titles so many times, it's not easy to cope with that pressure that I put myself under with my career," Mourinho said. "Winning is always special. The day I don't get emotional when I win is the day to go home. It was a game that I was feeling the difficulty. I want to pay the homage Southampton deserve and the only thing I can say is we have the cup in our hands, but probably we should be now playing extra-time."
Despite the landmark occasion, Mourinho wore a stern expression during the trophy presentation. But he insisted he was merely hiding his pride because he wanted his players to soak up the adulation. "I am very happy. I always try to put myself in the secondary position — it's important for the fans, the club, the players — but it's also important for me," he said.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself, you (the media) put a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted very much to win a major trophy at every club. By doing that with Manchester United it's quite the sense of relief because it was a big target for me. I feel very happy with the victory and the fact I did it four times, the same as the biggest one (Ferguson) and Mr Clough."
Mourinho challenged his players to use their win against Southampton as a springboard to bigger prizes. "The reality is that we want more: my contract is long, I have two more years with this one, so hopefully I can win more," Mourinho said. "This season I know it's difficult, but the reality is we have to try to fight for more."
Mourinho's decision to sign Ibrahimovic has paid rich dividends and he was quick to salute the Swedish star, who also played for him at Inter Milan. "I think Ibrahimovic won the game for us because he was outstanding," Mourinho said.
"Our opponents were better than us for long periods of the game, they deserved to go to extra-time, they did not deserve to lose over 90 minutes. He made the difference and he gave us a cup."
Southampton manager calls for video technology
Southampton could feel hard done by after having a Manolo Gabbiadini goal harshly disallowed with the score 0-0 and hitting the post before Ibrahimovic's winner. Saints boss Claude Puel said introducing video technology to decide offside decisions would be a good move in the future.
"I would like the video for the future for this situation but at the moment we are without video. Sometimes there is a bad decision against us, it is important to accept this," Puel said. "Congratulations to Manchester United. They were too clinical. But we proved we can play very well with many chances and opportunities."
Published Date: Feb 27, 2017 09:40 AM | Updated Date: Feb 27, 2017 09:40 AM