By Waweru Titus
Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped Manchester United secure the first major silverware this season after an entertaining 3-2 win against Southampton in Sunday’s League Cup final (EFL cup).
The former PSG talisman opened the scoring with an excellent free-kick before Jesse Lingard doubled United’s lead.
An inspired Manolo Gabbiadini enabled a thrilling Southampton fightback, scoring just before half-time and again early in the second half.
Ibrahimovic confirmed Mourinho’s first major silverware when he netted the third with a blistering 87th minute header.
An elated Ibrahimovic said that the win was enabled by teamwork at the Wembley Stadium.
“This is a team effort. This is what I came for – to win, and I am winning. The more I win the more satisfied I get.You appreciate it more the older you get. Wherever I have gone I have won. I think this is trophy number 32 for me. This is what I predicted. My friend, I keep doing it. I’m enjoying it in England,” he said.
According to AFP, Mourinho is the first United manager to win a top prize in his maiden season at Old Trafford, a feat not even Ferguson or Matt Busby achieved.
It was also the 54-year-old’s 19th major trophy of his bright career.
Mourinho lauded Ibrahimovic saying the talisman won the game because he was outstanding.
“In a match where the opponent was better than us for long periods – they deserved to go to extra time – he made the difference and he gave us the cup.
“It was a game I was feeling the difficulty. I want to pay homage to Southampton and what they deserve. We have the cup in our hands and probably should be in extra time,” reiterated Mourinho.
Southampton, playing in their first Wembley cup final since 1979 when they were League Cup runners-up, dominated United in the opening stages and Gabbiadini was unlucky to have a goal disallowed for offside.
Southampton manager Claude Puel congratulated the Red Devils but also expressed disappointment for the disallowed Gabbiadini goal.
“We came back with quality. Perhaps we deserve better. It’s football and congratulations to Manchester United and their players,” he said.
“Manolo Gabbiadini scored three good goals [including the disallowed goal]. There’s a lot of disappointment of course. We had a fantastic game without the reward. I hope we can continue on this level,” Puel added.
Jose Mourinho has now won all four of the League Cup finals he has contested (2005, 2007, 2015 and 2017).