Youthful Ajax lose 2-0 to Manchester United in Europa League final

Ruben Hill
May 26, 2017

With all their heart they wanted Manchester United to win. That's what we've done.

"We just came to do our job and the boys were fantastic because they blocked (it out), they put a wall in front of their eyes and they stay isolated from everything".

Paul Pogba gave Manchester United the lead in the 18th minute of the first half before Mkhitaryan made it two-nil in the 48th minute of the game.

Ibrahimovic was the first player through the phalanx of respectful Ajax players and he was all set for a snap with Eric Bailly and the Europa League [formerly the Uefa Cup] trophy.

Granted, that does not mean the exhilarating football of the great United sides, leaving the Ajax coach, Peter Bosz, to make a number of pithy remarks about long-ball tactics and the difference in terms of size and physicality. "It was all new for them".

Both sides then played a final full of pride and passion at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

What does he do with Wayne Rooney, United's captain and record scorer whose best days are behind him?

United's season was always going to be defined by this game.

But, that happens very rarely with a Mourinho team - somehow, even without playing the most eye-catching football, his teams find a way to score and win finals.

"We wouldn t think twice". Maybe this victory will bring some happiness to Manchester, I don't know.

Reports suggest that Rodriguez has already been offered to the Manchester club, which has seen his odds come in to as short as 3/10 to join United this summer.

"(United were) very efficient, defended very well. We had to focus because it was a very important game and we won for them and for the country. Based on pragmatism and humble principles.

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. His crucial goal had a huge element of fortune to it, though. The Frenchman opened up his body and took a low 20-yard shot that deflected off Sanchez, wrong-footing goalkeeper Andre Onana and rippling the back of the net. "Very serious and very smart".

You know, had that deflection not gone in, had Smalling not won that header, Manchester United would have scored a couple of goals some other way.

Midfielder Juan Mata added: "It was a very hard week for a lot of us and for the city of Manchester and we tried to win for all the people who have suffered".

There wasn't quite the 120,000 estimated Ajax fans who flooded Amsterdam's Museum Square, but Manchester was awash with defiant United supporters amid a more sombre atmosphere.

Marcus Rashford will miss the European Under-21 Championship in Poland next month, with England manager Gareth Southgate's choosing instead to select the Manchester United forward for the forthcoming internationals against Scotland and France, sources have told ESPN FC.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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