MANCHESTER UNITED WINS EFL CUP, AGAIN!

MANCHESTER UNITED 3 SOUTHAMPTON 2

EFL Cup final | 26 February 2017 | Wembley Stadium | Attendance: 85,264 | Scorers: Ibrahimovic 19min, 87min, Lingard 38min; Gabbiadini 45+1min, 48min.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was ultimately the Manchester United hero at Wembley as Jose Mourinho claimed his first trophy as the manager of Manchester United with a thrilling 3-2 EFL Cup final victory over Southampton.

The Swedish maestro struck twice at goal, including the vital winner three minutes from time, to seal a fifth League Cup triumph for United. United had gone two goals ahead in the first half thanks to Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard.

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Manolo Gabbiadini netted twice for the Saints, but United, in typical fashion, found a way to emerge victorious and win the silverware through Ibrahimovic’s late header.

HALF-TIME STATISTICS

Possession: United 46% Southampton 54%

Shots: United 3 Southampton 5

Shots on target: United 3 Southampton 3

Corners: United 0 Southampton 4

During the 2nd half the momentum was with the Saints but their goalie Forster almost presented United with a chance to retake the lead when his loose ball fell to Martial who put Zlatan through. Fortunately for the goalkeeper, he was able to race from his line and block at the forward’s feet.

FULL-TIME STATISTICS

Possession: United 48% Southampton 52%

Shots: United 10 Southampton 12

Shots on target: United 6 Southampton 5

Corners: United 3 Southampton 12

Teams

United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling (c), Rojo; Herrera, Pogba; Lingard (Rashford 77), Mata (Carrick 46), Martial (Fellaini 90); Ibrahimovic. Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Young, Rooney.

Booked: Herrera, Lingard.

Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Yoshida, Stephens, Bertrand, Romeu, Davis (c) (Rodriguez 90), Ward-Prowse, Tadic (Boufal 78), Redmond, Gabbiadini (Long 83). Subs not used: Hassen, Caceres, McQueen, Hojbjerg.

Booked: Romeu, Stephens, Redmond.

WATCH UNITED UNITED LIFT THE EFL CUP

Manchester United overcame Southampton in dramatic fashion at Wembley to triumph in the EFL Cup final and win the competition for the fifth time in the club’s illustrious history.

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United went 2-0 ahead through goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard, before Manolo Gabbiadini’s double either side of the break brought the Saints level.

It was Zlatan and United who had the final say, though, as the Swedish striker headed home Ander Herrera’s cross with a few minutes remaining to ensure the trophy will be coming back to Old Trafford.

BOSS JOSE MOURINHO REACTS TO WINNING THE EFL CUP

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.

MANUTD reports that Jose Mourinho 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 . . .

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

IBRAHIMOVIC TARGETS MORE TROPHIES AFTER CUP WIN

Swedish soccer guru Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late goal proved decisive as Manchester United won the EFL Cup at Wembley, and the United striker has already set his sights on more silverware this season.

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Asked if he has always been a winner, Zlatan told MUTV:

“It feels so. Wherever I went, I won and I’m happy for it because I had a long career, I had a fantastic career. Before coming to England I could have settled down and been happy with what I’d achieved. But that’s me, I’m not satisfied, I want more and I’m still hungry, even at this age.

This is my second trophy with the club [after the Community Shield] and I’m super happy. I came to win and I’m winning. Southampton played very well and we didn’t play like we normally do. But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t do good because they played a good game. From losing 2-0 to come back to 2-2 is not easy also so they did a good game. Congratulations to them for the good game but the trophy is ours.

It feels amazing because we won the game. Not an easy game, it was difficult, it was a good opponent but it’s all about winning. No matter how good you are, or how bad you do it, if you win, you do what you need to do and that’s the most important thing.

I got a call from Jose Mourinho – I have a good relationship with him and that’s why I came,” he added, in an interview with Sky Sports. “I know I made the right choice. I predicted what I would do. I came – that’s special.”

SIX TALKING POINTS FROM THE EFL CUP FINAL: ACCORDING TO MANUTD

Manchester United and Southampton served up a classic EFL Cup final that will live long in the memory of every Reds supporter. ManUtd.com’s Ryan Grant was at Wembley Stadium to see the action unfold and he has picked out some of the many talking points from the game…

1: A MODERN CLASSIC

It was an end-to-end, up and down, nail-biter of a final which will be remembered fondly. At times, like many of the United fans inside Wembley, I was on the edge of my seat in the press box, while occasionally also sinking lower and lower into it. The Reds were cruising at 2-0 up but, to great credit, Southampton fought back admirably with two goals from Manolo Gabbiadini to leave the game finely poised for the majority of the second half. There were saves and scrambles, close calls and high stakes, but ultimately it was Jose Mourinho’s men – courtesy of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late winner – who prevailed.

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2: BORN FOR THE BIG STAGE

What can we say about Zlatan that hasn’t already been said? Simply put, the Swedish striker was born for occasions like this and he delivered the goods once again! Ibra opened the scoring with a superb free-kick on 19 minutes, before his 87th-minute header sent the West End of Wembley into raptures. His performance comes as little surprise to those who have watched him this season, but it’s one that deserves endless praise nonetheless. Zlatan has won all six of the domestic cup finals he’s featured in, scoring seven goals in the process, and he’s also netted 26 goals in all competitions this season.

3: JESSE LOVES WEMBLEY

While we’re on the subject of players loving the big stage, Jesse Lingard’s remarkable record at Wembley continued with a fine finish that put the Reds 2-0 up. The Academy graduate came into the team following an injury to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and justified his selection, with a strike that adds to previous efforts in the FA Cup final and this season’s FA Community Shield. He might have scored another on 77 minutes before being replaced by Marcus Rashford, but he’s quickly building his own list of great United goals. “It’s up there,” Jesse said, when asked where Sunday’s goal ranks in his career. “It’s helped the team win another trophy and that’s why you’re on the pitch, you’ve always got to help your team.”

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4. A CLUB RECORD FOR JOSE

Mourinho became the first United manager to win a major trophy in a debut season at Old Trafford. Sunday’s triumph was also Jose’s fourth in the competition after three previous successes during his two tenures at Chelsea, drawing him level with Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough. Victory over Southampton means the Portuguese coach has impressively won 11 of his 13 cup finals as a manager, and the boss summed up his winning mentality after the game. “I’m a bit emotional,” he said. “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.”

5. WEMBLEY TALLY EQUALED

This visit to Wembley was United’s 49th in history and that tally is equaled only by Arsenal. There is still time for Mourinho’s men to move clear of the Gunners before the end of the season, with two trips potentially coming in the FA Cup semi-final and final (the Reds must beat Chelsea in the quarter-final first).

6: ROONEY SHOWED HIS PASSION

Wayne returned to the squad from a period of injury to sit on the bench and was set to enter the action as a substitute when the score was 2-2. However, Ibrahimovic’s later winner prompted a decisive Mourinho to send Marouane Fellaini on instead with a view to securing the victory. While that must have been disappointing for the captain, he certainly didn’t show it when celebrating wildly on the touchline. Footage of his passionate reaction spread like wildfire on social media, with many fans praising his behaviour.

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Manchester United is making waves under the veteran Portuguese coach – Jose Mourinho, and he just won his very first trophy, the EFL Cup (League Cup) in his very first season with the Red Devils. I’m so thrilled . . .

Up ManU!

© 2017 Madjack United

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