So Mourinho has won his first competitive trophy as a Manchester United manager. The first manager in the clubs history to win a trophy in their first season as manager. You could tell though from his face after the final whistle that he obviously did not have the winning feeling. Whilst the players danced, sang and celebrated it was apparent that he felt the team did not perform to the level of his expectations and were definitely the second best team on the pitch. He even said that Southampton did not deserve to lose the game over 90 minutes, which I can totally agree with.
Don’t get me wrong, as a fan the win feels good. The game was great to watch and was unlike most finals, normally both sides are tentative and spend the majority of the first half trying to figure each other out. Possibly that is what United expected, as we were slow off the mark, unlike Southampton who were well up for the game and should have been a goal ahead if the linesman hadn’t made the incorrect call on Gabbiadini’s chance in the first half. Maybe the run of games we’ve had, had finally taken an effect or maybe Southampton were just fresher, having had two weeks without a competitive game. Whatever it was the first 20 minutes of the game was all Southampton and we didn’t look at the races.
We got the goals though in the first half, both were probably against the run of play and that was evident by Gabbiadini getting the two to pull level. After Southampton’s second I think we started to control the game a bit more; however it was Southampton who were creating the better chances. Yet in this game all it takes is one moment and we have a man who doesn’t miss the important moment.
I will get onto the Man of the Match in a second, yet Gabbiadini, Redmond, Ward-Prowse and Romeu all deserve mentions from a Southampton point of view as having very good games. The biggest difference was possibly the fact that United had the more experienced cup final players, Carrick controled the game once he came on and stopped Tadic from being involved in the second half, Lingard got a goal and in the second half nullified Bertrand from getting forward and of course there was the Man of the Match, Zlatan!
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there are no words for his season so far and my only hope is that he can go on and do another season at Old Trafford in the same vane as this. His free kick was inch perfect to clear Davis in the wall and his header to win the game was text book Zlatan, getting free in the box and ensuring that Forster had no chance of getting a hand to it. His performance, his work rate and of course his goal scoring are what this club have been lacking recently.
I will be writing during the week about Zlatan so make sure you come back and have a read about where United would be if did not have our big number 9.
Anyways there will be those who will say that the League Cup is a ‘Mickey Mouse’ competition and for many years this was a cup which was seen as someting which was not taken seriously by the ‘big’ clubs. However when you look at the winners since 2005 it becomes clear that apart from Birmingham (who beat Arsenal) and Swansea who played against a Bradford side who enjoyed a good cup run, it has been dominated by the teams who are fighting for Champions League football. The only team from the current top 6 who haven’t won this competition over the past 11 years are Arsenal who have been beaten in 2 finals…
|2017||MANCHESTER UNITED beat Southampton|
|2016||Manchester City beat Liverpool|
|2015||Chelsea beat Tottenham|
|2014||Manchester City beat Sunderland|
|2013||Swansea City beat Bradford|
|2012||Liverpool beat Cardiff|
|2011||Birmingham City beat Arsenal|
|2010||Manchester United beat Aston Villa|
|2009||Manchester United beat Tottenham|
|2008||Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea|
|2007||Chelsea beat Arsenal|
|2006||Manchester United beat Wigan|
|2005||Chelsea beat Liverpool|
….but that’s history and whilst it is important at the moment the future is more important and it is starting to look very bright at Old Trafford. Here is to many more wins and celebrations both at Wembley and Old Trafford for Manchester United.