United players dedicate Europa League success to victims of Manchester attack
- Author: Julie Sanders May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 17:59
The boys were fantastic. We know that things like this are very sad, all over the world: in Manchester, in London and in Paris, too.
There was a familiar curl to Mourinho's lip in the post-match press conference as well as he hailed a "victory of pragmatism" and hit out at the "poets" who vaunt style over substance. "We've done it, and we're proud", Pogba said.
"Yesterday morning we were devastated and really sad", added the Spaniard, who has developed into one of Jose Mourinho's most valuable players this campaign, his third at United, and has won the admiration of supporters for his dedication to the side.
"We went out focused to win and we won for Manchester and the country", he told BT Sport.
"I agree with UEFA's decision to play the match but, you know, if we have questions like your question (about the importance of winning the game for the city) that made us return to this tragedy, obviously it takes happiness from our achievement".
After the victory that got Manchester qualification for next season's Champions League, Mourinho said that he respects and studies his opponents.
Pogba and his colleagues also wore black armbands for the showpiece.
But having fielded a team with an average age of 22 years and 282 days, the youngest to ever start a major European final, he expressed hope they would be better for the experience.
Mourinho, who described his first United campaign as "my most hard season as a manager", has appeared tetchy and grouchy in recent weeks, a glum, unsmiling figure constantly at war with the world. It means going back to the Champions League and playing in the European Super Cup next August. "But the game was in the pocket so when you have 2-0 you have to control the game, you have to delay the changes, you have to bring players step by step, try to give a bit more".
EFL Cup and Community Shield triumphs had been tempered by stumbling home sixth in the Premier League, meaning lifting the Europa League was their only way of qualifying for the Champions League.
How lovely to see - a lifelong friendship born entirely of football.
Honestly, it's like they've never watched Mourinho manage before.