Man Utd player ratings: Paul Pogba and Matteo Darmian shine v Ajax

And in doing so they claimed their 42nd major trophy - now one more than the Reds of Merseyside have in their cabinet at Anfield. That's what we've done.

Speaking about his "most hard season as a manager", Mourinho said he didn't know how the players could just go off and play worldwide matches.

Referring to the cup win, which earns United a place in the Champions League next season, Pogba, who opened the scoring before Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled the lead, added: "We knew we were going to play in the Europa League and the goal was to win the Europa League".

Both sides then played a final full of pride and passion at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. "It was all new for them".

Ajax substituted star player Kasper Dolberg as he had no influence on the match at all.

Wayne Rooney was brought on by Jose Mourinho in the final embers of the game to replace Juan Mata and it was long before the referee blew the final whistle after that. Nobody can talk."Pogba also played in the League Cup final victory over Southampton at Wembley Stadium but missed the Community Shield win over last season's Premier League champions Leicester City having only just joined the Old Trafford club from Juve".

"Obviously there's happiness from our achievement", Mourinho said.

"People say we've had a bad season but the prize is great and we've done it now". We wouldn't think twice.

And for the city of Manchester, which has been through hell since Monday night, there is something, albeit small, to celebrate and enjoy to help begin the healing process.

However, it's not a "one game stock", he adds, with the team's deep history and global visibility helping to cushion the blow of sub-par on-field performance.

It was billed as a clash between the efficiency of Mourinho's United against the swagger and youthful exuberance of Ajaxe.

"It was the victory for pragmatism", Mourinho said, "a victory of the humble people".

"We knew where we better, where they were better than us". It meant keeping a strong defensive shape and using the pace of Marcus Rashford on the break.

His five take-ons in the first half was more than any other player on the pitch. His crucial goal had a huge element of fortune to it, though.

Mkhitaryan's goal was much prettier, although it came from a direct route. The corner is swung in from Mata and it's Mkhitaryan with the overhead from close range after Smalling headed goalwards. United's relative underachievement was facilitated in part by Mourinho's reluctance to commit to lineups and systems that would showcase his best players (like playing Pogba in a 4-3-3, or playing Mkhitaryan at all). They delivered when it mattered most. Ajax would keep attacking and United would drop ever so deeper.

  • Julie Sanders