Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has again shut his critics after beating Ajax 2-0 to claim his second Europa league trophy, the first for the Old Trafford outfit.
Mourinho had been under serious criticism after spending about £1 billion to bring in Paul Pogba, Eric Bailey and Henrik Mhikitaryan.
However, his failure to make top four finish after such a huge spending made his critics come at him after managing just 68 draws and a number of draws at home.
The shape, size and value of the prizes might have some questioning whether Jose Mourinho would have been better doing things a different way, but there can be no suggesting 2016-17 has been a failure.
“We knew exactly how to win,” said the United boss after an evening dripping with emotion on Wednesday, his side beating Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League final against the backdrop of Manchester’s pain following Monday’s terror attack.
And the man has a point. This is a club which for a quarter of a century went about sweeping practically everyone aside to win almost every trophy possible, but they have done just about everything but win since Sir Alex Ferguson hung up his stopwatch.
David Moyes was a rabbit caught in headlights, Louis van Gaal an old dog with no new tricks. United needed to find a way to get over the line once again, with Moyes’ single Community Shield win and Van Gaal’s FA Cup triumph small reward for supporters who had come to expect so much more.
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A Premier League title? A Champions League crown? Mourinho has won both on multiple occasions and would love nothing more than to repeat those successes in Manchester. It might be a lot to expect United to close the gap between this season’s returns and both of those glittering targets in the space of 12 months, but they must at least get close in one or the other.
In the meantime, Mourinho has vowed to switch off his phone, head for his holidays, and revel in his achievements on his first lap around the course with Manchester United. When you work for this club, your achievements at Chelsea, Real Madrid or Inter matter not a jot. Your triumphs in red are what count and he has delivered a maiden Europa League title, a first of any continental denomination in nine years.
“I know the Europa League is the only competition Manchester United as a club have never won,” Mourinho said earlier this month. “It would be great to close the circle and say we are a club that has won every single competition in the football world.”