Manchester United Pay Tribute To Bombing Victims After Europa League Victory
"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.”
Manchester United players and staff have dedicated their Europa League final victory over Ajax to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing attack.
Jose Mourinho’s side overcame the Dutch team 2-0 in an emotional evening in Stockholm on Wednesday.
Goals from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw United claim its second major trophy of the season, after the triumph in the EFL Cup, and secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
Speaking in a press conference after the final whistle, man of the match Ander Herrera said: “Yesterday morning we were devastated. We were really, really sad because you think about life and football – you have no choice."
“It was difficult to train yesterday, really difficult for us, but the manager told us the only thing to do was to win this for them and that’s what we have done. It’s just a football game, it’s just a trophy, but if we can help or if we can support them with this just 1% it’s enough for us," Herrera said.
“We are very happy. European trophy, you don’t win it every day, but I want to dedicate the trophy to the victims. This is just football, but what happened two days ago was horrible.
“We don’t want this in the world, we want a world of respect and I know we are just football players, but we have some audiences, so from here I just want to say to everyone to work together for a normal world. This happened in Manchester, but everywhere has to be a united world to fight for peace and no more attacks and no more deaths please.”
Frenchman Paul Pogba told BT Sport: “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.”
Juan Mata added: "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.”
The players posed with a "Manchester – A City United" banner after the game, referencing the rivalry between United and Manchester City. City also tweeted out the phrase on the night of United’s European victory.
Mourinho said he agreed with Uefa’s decision to play the final two days after the terror attack on Manchester that killed 22 people.
"It obviously takes happiness from our achievement," the Manchester United manager said.
"If we could, we would change people's lives for this cup - we would not think twice.
"Does this cup make the city of Manchester a bit happier? Maybe. But we came to do our job, and we can't avoid the happiness because when you win you go away happy and proud.
"The boys were fantastic."