Jose Mourinho leads Man Utd tributes to city: We won Europa League for all of Manchester

MANCHESTER UNITED’S players joined Jose Mourinho in dedicating their Europa League win to the victims of this week’s atrocity at the Manchester Arena as the relief at performing with pride for the city spilled over into jubilant celebrations.

Substitute Wayne Rooney lifted the trophy after the 2-0 win over Ajax in possibly his final act as a United player – the Europa League the only trophy the club had never won previously in its history.

Goals in each half in Stockholm by Paul Pogba and Henrik Mkhitaryan had been enough to see off a young Dutch side at the Friends Arena.

Ander Herrera led the calls for world peace upon accepting his man-of-the-match award after the match.

“A European trophy you don’t win every day so I am happy but I want to dedicate this to the victims,” he said.

“This is just football but what happened two day ago was horrible.

“We want peace in the world – a normal world with respect. We are just football players but we have an audience so we want to work together for a normal world.

“This happened in Manchester but everywhere we need to have a united world to fight for peace and no more attacks and deaths please.

Henrikh MkhitaryanGETTY

Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled Manchester United’s lead after the break

“Yesterday morning we were devastated. We were really, really sad because you think of life and football – you have no choice.

“It was difficult to train but the manager told us the only thing we could do is win this for them and that is what we have done.

“It is just a football game and a trophy but if we can help and support with this just one per cent it is enough for us.”

Paul Pogba and Juan Mata echoed those sentiments and in deference to the difficult emotions involved in playing such a high profile match so close to such an appalling tragedy, manager Jose Mourinho refused to celebrate either of the United goals.

Jose Mourinho celebrates in style after Manchester United’s Europa League win

But on the final whistle, relief poured over him and he fisted the air manically as he was briefly borne aloft by his staff, single finger raised to show he was “No1”, before being leapt upon and wrestled to the ground by his son.

He was the first to collect his medal and took a moment by himself to kiss and hug the trophy having been made the subject of the loudest cheers from the Manchester United fans.

“It is the end of a very difficult season, but a very, very good season,” Mourinho said.

“We preferred to reach the Champions League this way than finish fourth, third or second. The club now has every title in world football.

“We always thought that we could win the Europa League and we are very happy. We were much stronger than them.

“There are lots of poets in football but poets don’t win many titles. We knew where we were better than them and we exploited their weaknesses.

“We totally deserved the win. I am so happy to see the boys with the crutches with the trophy and now I am on holiday. I don’t want to see any international friendlies, I am selfish. I can’t do it.”



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