Published On: Wed, May 24th, 2017

Vindication: Manchester United saves season with Europa League title

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Jose Mourinho has been vindicated: Manchester United will indeed take part in next season’s Champions League.

The Premier League has been an afterthought over the last month for the Red Devils, as the club has focused all of its efforts on securing Champions League football next season by capturing the Europa League crown. That plan came to fruition Wednesday.

Goals from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on either side of half-time gave Mourinho's men a comfortable 2-0 victory against a youthful – and, frankly, physically overmatched – Ajax side at the Friends Arena in Sweden.

Related – Watch: Huge deflection helps Pogba open scoring in Europa League final

The Premier League giant, despite finishing sixth in England’s top flight, will now return to Europe’s marquee club competition after a one-year hiatus.

From the opening whistle on Wednesday, that seemed like the only conclusion.


(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Ajax, which set a new benchmark by rolling out the youngest starting XI to ever play in a major European final, struggled to cope with the strength of Manchester United and the pressure it put on right from the get-go.

When Pogba opened the scoring in the 18th minute – via an enormous deflection off the leg of the erratic Davinson Sanchez – the Dutch side's task became immeasurably more difficult; for all the criticism fired his way this season, Mourinho still knows how to strangle a match.

Proving he Portuguese's tactics worked a charm, Ajax's highly-touted teenage striker, Kasper Dolberg, didn't touch the ball until taking the kickoff after Pogba's goal.

The Eredivisie club showed sporadic flashes thereafter, but United secured the result early in the second stanza.

Mkhitaryan was quickest to react inside the penalty area after a corner was flicked on, and the Armenian international netted his sixth goal of the tournament with a clever flick.

Game. Set. Match.

The win means United, in addition to securing the coveted Champions League berth, finishes the season with a pair of crowns. The Europa League title will be stashed alongside the League Cup trophy the team procured earlier in the campaign.

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