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Manchester win 2017 EFL Cup: Man Utd 3-2 Southampton

Zlatan Ibrahimovic key to Manchester United’s EFL Cup victory at Wembley Stadium

Match Report

Manchester United 3-2 Southampton

Man United goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 19, Jesse Lingard 38, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 87

Southampton goals: Manolo Gabbiadini 45 +0:30, Manolo Gabbiadini 48

Manchester United celebrity superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a brace, his 25th and 26th goals of the season, to give the league cup win to United and a broken heart to a heroic Southampton side in a thrilling final to the 2016-17 EFL Cup tournament. United’s first trophy under new manager Jose Mourinho was earned in a hard fought battle with a result that was brutally cruel to Southampton who put out a massive effort against the titan side from Manchester City. Within a few minutes from the start of the match, Man United were out in front. Oriol Romeu was booked for a foul on Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired home an amazing free kick from 22 yards beating a slow reacting Fraser Forster. Jesse Lingard doubled United’s advantage before the break. Southampton equalized with two goals either side of half-time by Italian Manolo Gabbiadini, before Ibrahimovic had the last word. Southampton were outstanding throughout the brilliant close match that was decided by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late goal. An on-fire Gabbiadini scored his fifth goal in three games for Claude Puel’s Saints.

After he was named “Man of the Match” Ibra was asked if his tour to date with Manchester has gone better than he hoped. “That was nice. It was a great cross from Herrera. This is a team effort. I came to win, and I’m winning. The more I win, the more satisfied I get. You appreciate winning more as you get older. This is my 32nd trophy – wow, I’m super happy. No, no. I knew what I could do, and now I’m doing it. Many people said I could not do it anymore. My friend, I keep going.” On the Swede’s second trip to Wembley with Man Utd, he was jumping for joy. To date, Ibra has scored 26 goals in an incredible season since moving to Old Trafford on a free transfer last summer. Ibra bagged the winner for Manchester and won the Community Shield in August. "We are winning. After seven months I have two trophies with this club,” said Ibrahimovic. "There are other clubs that didn’t win for 10 years. I�ve won what they won in 10 years, so I’m happy with that."

The win saw United move ahead of Liverpool Fc as the most-successful club in England, with their 42nd honor. "This is what I predicted. I came here to show people what I would do and I’m doing it,” added thirty-five-year-old Ibra. “I came to win and I want to keep going. The more I win the more satisfied I get." Ibrahimovic earned the 32nd trophy of his 17-year career. After winning the EFL trophy, he said the older he got the more appreciated winning silverware. “This is what I came for - to win - and I'm winning,” said Zlatan. “Wherever I've gone, I've won, and the more I win, the more satisfied I get. You appreciate it more the older you get and I keep on doing it. In the beginning, you don’t realize what the trophy means. But the older I got, the more mature I got, the more I understood it’s all about winning, all about collecting these trophies. I think this was my 32nd trophy and I’m super happy.”

Ibrahimovic is currently the top goal scorer in all of Europe. Since the beginning of last season, he has 76 goals to his name – compared to Lionel Messi (74) and Cristiano Ronaldo (72). Ibra’s one-year deal at United expires in the summer 2017, but Mourinho is eager for him to stay after scoring 26 goals already this season. The Swede has been stalling on signing a one-year contract extension. Jose Mourinho said: "I never bank for a player to sign a contract. I never bank for a player to play for me. One day Zlatan decided to go to Barcelona and I was very sad and did nothing to try to stop him to go. So I don’t bank for players. But, if needed, I think maybe United fans can go to the door of his house and stay there all night. If needed, I think they will go for sure. We all want and all believe that he's going to stay with us one more season."

Jose Mourinho became the first Man United boss to win a trophy in his debut season by lifting the EFL Cup at Wembley Stadium and the manager was “emotional” when discussing the success, praising two-goal hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The boss has now won the trophy four times in total following previous wins with Chelsea. Mourinho joined Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough as the only managers to win the League Cup four times. Mourinho reacted to winning the EFL Cup as the most decorated manager in League Cup history alongside Ferguson and Clough. "It’s fantastic. We know Sir Alex is the best ever, so to be with him and also Mr Clough, with his great history in English football with Nottingham Forest, for me it’s fantastic. But the most important thing for me is the happiness of everyone at the club. I saw the owners, I saw the fans, I saw the players, that is the most important thing for me."

"I'm a bit emotional, yes,” said Mourinho. “It's not easy to win titles, it's not easy to win titles so many times, it's not easy to cope with that pressure that I put myself under with my career. It was a game in which I was feeling the difficulty. I want to pay homage Southampton deserve and the only thing I can say is we have the cup in our hands, but probably we should have been playing extra-time. Winning is always special. The day I don’t get emotional when I win is the day I go home." “He won the game for us, he was outstanding,” said Mourinho about Ibra. “Paul Pogba was at a similar level but Zlatan was outstanding in a match where our opponent was better than us for large periods of the game. They deserved to go to extra-time, they didn’t deserve to lose, but Zlatan made the difference and won us the cup. I don’t beg for players but if needed, I think United fans can go to the door of his house and stay there all night if needed. I think they will go for sure. We want, we believe, that he is going to stay with us for one more season.”

"I think Southampton were in Spain, they were quiet, they were preparing while we were playing, travelling, playing in the Europa League, in the Premier League, in the FA Cup. We could see that. The moment the game was broken with the 2-2, they had an advantage. I think we were lucky to be 2-0 up, but we were very unlucky to be at 2-1 because that changed completely the direction of the game. The 2-2 goal was a phenomenal goal, it was technically such a difficult shot. Gabbiadini is phenomenal, but then the game was broken and I could see the difference between Herrera and Sean Davis. I could see the difference between Redmond and others. But it is something that we coped with because we were humble, the boys fought together and obviously had a bit of luck. The 3-2 came in a moment when it was difficult for them to react."

"I am very happy, I am very happy. It is important for the fans, the club and the players. I always try to put myself in the secondary position. The reality is also important to me. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted very much to win a major trophy with every club and by doing that with Manchester United, it is quite a sense of relief. It was a big target for me to win a trophy with Manchester United but the reality is we want more. My contract is long, I have two more years plus this one so hopefully I can win something more this season. I know it is difficult, but the reality is we have to fight for more.”

“I don’t want to look at this win as a platform. I prefer to look at it as something in hand. It is one less competition that we delete from our minds. We had it in our minds for about a month. It is over, it is finished. It is a sense of relief. This game was a tricky final, Southampton are a club that is growing. They have good players, a good coach, their fans were the same number as our fans, so this was a tricky kind of final. I was afraid of this one more than the other finals when you know another giant is the other side. This one was tricky." After the game, Man United captain Wayne Rooney and the Red Devils lifted the trophy and sprayed each other with champagne. United have won their last three matches that decided domestic trophies at Wembley Stadium in London.

Squads

Manchester United
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Rojo; Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Mata, Martial; Ibrahimovic. Subs: Romero, Blind, Young, Fellaini, Carrick, Rooney, Rashford.

Southampton
Forster; Soares, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand; Davis, Romeu, Davis; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Gabbiadini. Subs: Hassen, Long, Rodriguez, Caceres, Boufal, Hojbjerg, McQueen.

Referee Andre Marriner

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