After Manchester United beat Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday, Jose Mourinho said that it was the most important trophy of his career as it was the latest. Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan led United to their only trophy this season two days after Manchester witnessed a bomb blast at a concert venue claimed 22 lives and left 64 injured.
Mourinho called it the most important trophy of his career and said that it means everything for the team. He said, “This is the most important trophy of my career because it’s the last (in line) and the last one is always the most important. That’s the way I look at things. It means everything for the team. It means going back to the Champions League and playing in the European Super Cup next August. It’s the last piece of the puzzle.”
After the victory that got Manchester qualification for next season’s Champions League, Mourinho said that he respects and studies his opponents. “I am very humble when I play finals. I respect and study opponents. I try to make my players respect the opponents’ strengths and also to understand their weaknesses,” he said.
The Portuguese manager said that the Manchester suicide bomb attack incident took away some happiness from their feat and that they would not think twice to change the cup for people’s lives. He said, “When you go into big matches you go happy and we didn’t. The boys were fantastic because they built a wall in front of their eyes and isolated themselves from everything to stay focused on the football match.”
“Yesterday we didn’t want to have the press conference because we had to prepare ourselves to do our job and to try to forget events which are much more important than our job. But the world goes on, it doesn’t stop. I agree with the UEFA decision to play the match but obviously the tragedy that occurred takes some of the happiness from our achievement. If we could, we would change the cup for people’s lives. We wouldn’t think twice.”
Out with a long-term knee injury, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future with the Red Devils is in doubt. Mourinho said, “It’s so unfair what happened to him but life and football sometimes are. This night would have been amazing for him if he had been on the pitch in his hometown, on the pitch where he played before he left Sweden.”
Mourinho heaped praise on Ibrahimovic saying, “He made an amazing impact this season and I am so pleased that in his amazing career he finally gets a European trophy.”