Jose Mourinho became the first Manchester United manager to win a trophy in a debut season by lifting the EFL Cup at Wembley Stadium and the boss was “emotional” when discussing the success, praising two-goal hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic and applauding the efforts of Southampton.
The boss has now won the competition four times in total following previous triumphs with Chelsea, which makes him the most decorated manager in League Cup history alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough.
Here are the main points from Mourinho’s post-match interviews and press conference…
ZLATAN WON US THE CUP
“He won the game for us, he was outstanding. Paul Pogba was at a similar level but Zlatan was outstanding in a match where our opponent was better than us for large periods of the game. They deserved to go to extra-time, they didn’t deserve to lose, but Zlatan made the difference and won us the cup.”
CREDIT TO SOUTHAMPTON
“I’m a bit emotional. It’s not easy to win titles so many times, it’s not easy to cope with the pressure I put myself under all of my career. It was a game I felt was difficult, so credit goes to Southampton. We have the cup in our hands but we should be playing extra-time. Winning is always special. The day I don’t get emotional when I win is the day I go home.”
WE HAD TIRED LEGS ON THE PITCH
“I think Southampton were in Spain, they were quiet, they were preparing while we were playing, travelling, playing in the Europa League, in the Premier League, in the FA Cup. We could see that. The moment the game was broken with the 2-2, they had an advantage. I think we were lucky to be 2-0 up, but we were very unlucky to be at 2-1 because that changed completely the direction of the game. The 2-2 goal was a phenomenal goal, it was technically such a difficult shot. Gabbiadini is phenomenal, but then the game was broken and I could see the difference between Herrera and Sean Davis. I could see the difference between Redmond and others. But it is something that we coped with because we were humble, the boys fought together and obviously had a bit of luck. The 3-2 came in a moment when it was difficult for them to react.”
A BIG TARGET ACHIEVED WITH UNITED
“I am very happy, I am very happy. It is important for the fans, the club and the players. I always try to put myself in the secondary position. The reality is also important to me. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted very much to win a major trophy with every club and by doing that with Manchester United, it is quite a sense of relief. It was a big target for me to win a trophy with Manchester United but the reality is we want more. My contract is long, I have two more years plus this one so hopefully I can win something more this season. I know it is difficult, but the reality is we have to fight for more.”
A SECOND SEASON FOR IBRAHIMOVIC?
“I never beg for a player to sign a contract, I never beg for a player to play for me. One day Zlatan decided to go to Barca from Inter. I was very sad, but I did nothing to try to stop him from going. I don’t beg for players but if needed, I think United fans can go to the door of his house and stay there all night if needed. I think they will go for sure. We want, we believe, that he is going to stay with us for one more season.”
REDS WILL MOVE ON QUICKLY
“I don’t want to look at this win as a platform. I prefer to look at it as something in hand. It is one less competition that we delete from our minds. We had it in our minds for about a month. It is over, it is finished. It is a sense of relief. This game was a tricky final, Southampton are a club that is growing. They have good players, a good coach, their fans were the same number as our fans, so this was a tricky kind of final. I was afraid of this one more than the other finals when you know another giant is the other side. This one was tricky.”
MATCHING SIR ALEX AND BRIAN CLOUGH ON FOUR LEAGUE CUPS
“It’s fantastic. We know Sir Alex [Ferguson] is the best ever, so to be with him and also Mr Clough, with his great history in English football with Nottingham Forest, for me it’s fantastic. But the most important thing for me is the happiness of everyone at the club. I saw the owners, I saw the fans, I saw the players, that is the most important thing for me.”