A trophy for the whole of Manchester
Paul Pogba dedicated Manchester United's Europa League triumph in Stockholm to the victims of Manchester terror attack.
A suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded more than 50 at Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night.
Two days later one of the English city’s two Premier League clubs beat Ajax 2-0 to lift the Europa League trophy for the first time, and after full-time French midfielder Pogba paid tribute to those who had lost their lives.
Speaking to BT Sport, he said: “We know that things like this are very sad, all over the world: in Manchester, in London and in Paris, too. We had to focus because it was a very important game and we won for them and for the country.
“We played for England, we played for Manchester, and we played for the people who died.”
Referring to the cup win, which earns United a place in the Champions League next season, Pogba, who opened the scoring before Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled the lead, added: “We knew we were going to play in the Europa League and the goal was to win the Europa League.
“We did it, so we’re very proud. Some say we had a bad season but the prize is here. We worked hard and we’ll enjoy it now.”
Mkhitaryan was happy to fulfil his colleagues’ prophecies after helping the Red Devils reach the Stockholm showpiece with five European goals this term.
The Armenian said: “Thank you to my team-mates because without them I couldn’t score so many goals. I’m happy that I scored here today in the final because everyone was saying, ‘You’re going to score in the final’ and after the last game against Celta Vigo I was dreaming about scoring in the final and I did.
“We were fighting in two races: the Premier League and the Europa League. In the Premier League we couldn’t hit the target to go to the Champions League but tonight we gave all our effort and now we’re playing in the Champions League.”
Juan Mata added: “It’s massive for us. We came here with one option - to win the trophy that the club had never won and we did it so we are happy.
“It was a great final and my first European final with United, hopefully the first of many.
“Especially after what happened (in Manchester) we wanted to win this and we’ll bring the trophy back.
“It was a very difficult week for a lot of us and for the city of Manchester and we tried to win for all the people who have suffered. This trophy is for them.”