Winning the Europa league will be open up many doors for Man U this summer to help bring more talent to the Red Devils.
The Telegraph’s John Percy wrote: “The futures of Antoine Griezmann and David De Gea were intrinsically linked to this Europa League Final, with the pressure on Manchester United to win. A victory over Ajax was always going to be crucial to Mourinho’s short-term plans, with a place in the Champions League next season the prize, so there will now be huge optimism for the months ahead.
Griezmann’s teasing comment of a move to United being “6/10” will undoubtedly lean more in Mourinho’s favour now, for the prospect of the France international signing without Champions League football were non-existent.
A move from Atletico Madrid is now highly likely, with the fee expected to be around £85million due to a release clause. De Gea’s career at Old Trafford could also be extended after this triumph, in another blow for Real Madrid who have fluttered their eyelids at the goalkeeper for years. The threat of another bid from Madrid cannot be completely discounted, but Mourinho’s hand is certainly strengthened by events in Stockholm.
And what of Wayne Rooney? A substitute here, the end of his United career is surely coming this summer.
Ajax’s youthful exuberance proved so crucial in their route to the final but here it was exposed as a weakness by Mourinho, the ultimate spoiling tactician.
Six of Ajax’s starting XI were aged 21 or under and it was clear at times that the occasion left some of them overawed, as United controlled the game from the start, their experience of the grand stage proving the difference.
There were a number of occasions, particularly in the first half, where their physical approach was too much for Ajax, with Pogba easily brushing aside Lasse Schone (twice) and Davinson Sanchez. United also pressed high up the pitch and were not afraid to utilise the long ball, with Marouane Fellaini playing just behind Marcus Rashford.
The timing of the second goal was also significant, ending any hopes of a swift Ajax response early in the second half. While Pogba took centre stage, there were also impressive displays from Juan Mata, Chris Smalling and Rashford.
Inspired by a passionate United support, with the atrocities of Monday night in Manchester at the forefront of minds, it was a no-frills, professional performance.
Mourinho is the undisputed trophy king
Manchester United may still be lacking the trademark stardust but this season must now be considered a success under the undisputed trophy king Jose Mourinho. This victory maintains his 100 per cent record in European finals, after two triumphs with Porto and one with Inter Milan, and vindicates his gamble to effectively write off United’s league campaign.
His debut season would arguably have been judged as a failure if United had lost at the Friends Arena, despite the League Cup success against Southampton, for their sixth-placed Premier League finish cannot be dressed up as anything other than a disappointment.
However, Champions League football is now assured at Old Trafford next season and a brighter future is surely on the horizon for Mourinho. There was no celebration from the Portuguese for either goal, merely a slight nod of the head, but make no mistake, he needed this trophy. He has often appeared irritable and jaded throughout this season but this ultimately proved why United made the decision to sack Louis van Gaal and appoint him as successor. United will now be hoping this is their last experience of the Europa League for some time.
Man of the match
This was always going to be billed as a huge night for Paul Pogba, after a season in which he has polarised opinion since that eye-watering transfer last year. But this was undoubtedly the Pogba that convinced Mourinho to pay such a colossal fee, with the France midfielder delivering at the time when it most mattered.
An influence in both penalty boxes, he grabbed the game by the shirt collar early on and produced an imperious performance, dictating play and constantly wanting the ball. There remain rough edges, and a tendency to shy away from simplicity, but Pogba will be even better next season.