Southampton gave Manchester United a 'beautiful final' - Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho admitted that Manchester United's 3-2 win in the EFL Cup final was "unfair" on Southampton on Sunday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed home an 87th-minute winner for United, adding to a brilliant free kick that opened the scoring in the first half, but Southampton were arguably the better team over the 90 minutes, something that Mourinho seemed to acknowledge after the match.
"I feel Claude Puel has a reason to be sad and disappointed," Mourinho said. "He did fantastic work. His team deserved extra-time, and to lose in minute 87 with very little time to react I think is a bit unfair for them. I have to give this word to Claude, to Southampton's players and fans, because they gave us a beautiful final."
Mourinho claimed that he was more nervous about this final than others against bigger teams, on the basis that Southampton were underdogs and there was thus more pressure on his side.
"I like the big ones -- against Arsenal, or Chelsea, or Tottenham, because you are not favourites," he said. "You're playing against another big team and you don't have more responsibility on your shoulders. It's power against power.
"These finals are tricky. They are Southampton, a club that is growing up, but they are not Manchester United. I was afraid of this one more than the other ones, when you know another giant is on the other side."
Mourinho has now won the League Cup four times, and he acknowledged the achievement that puts him level with "the biggest one [Sir Alex Ferguson] and Mr [Brian] Clough." He didn't appear to be particularly delighted after the game, but insisted he was happy.
"It's good for the club, and for the fans," he said. "I always try to put myself in the secondary position, but the reality is that it's also important for me I put a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted to win a major trophy at every club...I want more. I have two more years plus this one, so hopefully I can win more."
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.