Jose Mourinho managed to continue his impressive record in finals as he clinched the first trophy as Manchester United manager. It wasn’t as easy as many predicted, but they managed to get the job done and that will only have a positive effect on their season. Winning breeds winning and that is why it was important for United to beat Southampton this afternoon. Claude Puel’s men competed well and were the better team over the ninety minutes, but they lacked the quality to get over the line and the winning mentality of United ultimately paid dividends in the end. Here are three things that we learned…
Ibrahimovic is a class above
The best players raise their games for finals and Zlatan Ibrahimovic certainly did that this afternoon. It was by no means Manchester United’s best performance in recent weeks, but they managed to win the match and the main reason for that was the display of their Swedish striker. He scored two goals, including the winner with only minutes to go. It came at a time when Southampton were having the better of the play and that underlines the concentration of the 35-year-old. There were a few United players that disappointed this afternoon and they should be thankful that they have a born winner like Ibrahimovic in their dressing room.
The first goal was an excellent free kick and it takes a special sort of player to perform that skill in a high-pressured match like a final, but Ibrahimovic made it look easy. Although his two goals will take the headlines, his overall contribution was impressive and highlighted his experience. He held up the ball well and worked tirelessly for his side pressing from the front. Even after his winning goal, he managed to win the ball back in the Southampton half and earn a free kick to see his side through to the finishing line. He was the best player on the pitch this afternoon and he will deservedly take the headlines.