Right up until the final match many reserved judgement on Jose Mourinho’s first season at the helm of Manchester United.
However, in guiding his club to a championship in the Europa League a winning feeling has been restored in the northern England city of Manchester and gave the club an automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League.
Sparkling displays of football (soccer) were not seen often this season at Old Trafford and despite an unbeaten run of 25 matches Mourinho could not finish higher than sixth-place in the English Premier League.
However, through a win in the League Cup and now the Europa League title he helped return some glory and swagger that had disappeared since 2013 with the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
One former player said it does not matter who finished second, third, fourth or even fifth in the Premier League since Manchester United won a pair of trophies.
Mourinho, known as the “Special One,” described his inaugural season at United as his most difficult as a manager.
He has not appeared happy and seemed upset at the world. However, he appeared to be reborn as the final whistle blew in Stockholm following the 2-0 victory by United over Dutch side Ajax on Wednesday.
The four fingers he raised to the United fans were for the four major titles in Europe he now has won.
Mourinho at one time was United’s No. 1 enemy but following miseries suffered with David Moyes followed by Louis van Gaal at the helm, he has become their sweetheart.
Mourinho said he would take a short break from football but not for very long.
Too much is going on for Mourinho to be away for long. David de Gea the top goalkeeper for United is linked once again with moving to Real Madrid, while Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney may not ever pay on the pitch for United again.
Club captain Rooney came on as a late substitute against Ajax. Mourinho says he would be pleased to see Rooney remain at United but the club’s record holder in goals scored has been frustrated over a lack of time.
It appears Manchester United will look for another striker and Antoine Griezmann the Frenchman at Atletico Madrid appears to be in their crosshairs.
Mourinho said that the executive vice-chairman at United Ed Woodward has the list of players he would like to be brought to the club.