Jose Mourinho watched Zlatan Ibrahimovic to snatch what he admitted was a bit unfairly EFL Cup final victory against Southampton and he joked that the fans “Manchester United” should camp near home the striker to convince him to sign for another season at the club.
United led at Wembley thanks to goals from Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard, before a new Southampton, Manolo Gabbiadini, to strike back with two goals of their own. Gabbiadini, who joined in late January from Napoli for €17 million, had seen the 11‑minute effort wrongly ruled out for offside.
Ibrahimovic takes Manchester United’s EFL Cup final victory over Southampton
Ibrahimovic had deepened the feeling Southampton’s regret and injustice with the winning goal in the 87th minute and brought his tally for the season since his arrival as a free agent from PSG, to 26 in all competitions. It helped Mourinho to become the first United Manager to ensure the trophy in his first season at the club, and now he repeated Brian Clough and sir Alex Ferguson with only four wins of the League Cup.
Ibrahimovic was invited to a one-year extension of his contract at old Trafford, but he still needs to sign it. “If need be, United fans can go to the door of his house and stay there all night,” said Mourinho. “If need be, they will go, of course.
“To get what we need for him to stay for another year. I think he won the game for us because he was outstanding in a match where our opponents were better than us for long periods in the game where I think Southampton deserved to go to extra time. They didn’t deserve to lose in 90 minutes.
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“I was the Manager of Zlatan’s [international] and I know it. But that’s all to it. He came to England on 35, because he felt ready. Only stupid player comes to England in this age, with a successful career he was, if he thinks he can’t do it.”
Ibrahimovic said: “This is what I came here to win and I won. The more I win, the more satisfied I get. You appreciate it more the older you get. Wherever I went, I won. I think that’s trophy number 32 for me. This is what I predicted. For many, I couldn’t do it. I continue to do this.”
Mourinho suggested that the relief was the most prominent among his emotions, because he was “more afraid” of this type the final against teams that were clear before the match the outsiders. He also noted the great freshness of Southampton was obvious. It was only the second match after a weekend of 4-5 February; he was the fifth of the organization in the same period.
“Fuel in the legs, but not ours,” said Mourinho. “If we go to extra time, we would be in trouble.”
Claude Puel was proud of his players, but disappointed forbidding that would be the first goal Gabbiadini is. “I would like a video of the technique in the future for such situations,” the Southampton Manager said. “But sometimes you get bad decisions. It is very difficult to lose this game. We were not lucky. It is very cruel”.