Manchester United overpowered Ajax, in more ways than one, to ease to the Europa League title in Stockholm on Wednesday.
Chasing a second major title of the season and a passage into the Champions League, Manchester United did well to overcome their emotions from the terrible Manchester Arena attack and put on a very Jose Mourinho-like performance – strong, clinical and with a W in the end.
Paul Pogba scored the opening goal in the 18th minute of the game, and half an hour of play later, Henrikh Mkhitaryan notched the insurance goal to send Manchester United on their way to their first ever Europa League title.
Crucially, this win also means that United will be playing Champions League football next season, something Mourinho was desperate to achieve, after floundering in the top four race in the English Premier League.
While the win wasn't pretty – very rarely does a Mourinho team play attractive football when there is so much at stake – it was never in doubt, once Pogba saw his shot take a big deflection off Davinson Sanchez and hit the back of the net after wrong-footing the goalkeeper.
When Mkhitaryan expertly turned in a Chris Smalling header, it was a sign for the celebrations to start.
After the match, Pogba dedicated this win to the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester.
"We know things like this are very sad, all over the world," Pogba said. "We had to focus, it was very important. We won for Manchester, we worked for them, for the country. We play for England, for Manchester and for the people who died."
As Manchester United celebrated an important title victory, Ajax were left to ponder over what might have been, especially after doing so well, playing such attractive football, to reach the final.
Against the master of shutting out attacking teams, though, Peter Bosz and his young team – with an average age of just 22 years and 282 days – just had no answers. Try as they might, they, more often than not, Ajax ran into a United wall, with Mourinho making full use of his team's physical superiority.
"We're obviously disappointed," Bosz said. "I didn't see the Ajax team I'm used to – pressing and competing for first balls. We only got second balls.
"We went behind to a deflected shot and then it was very difficult against such a side. We didn't have many chances. We weren't good enough. I think there's a big difference in how the teams play, it's not about strength but how you use your bodies.
"I thought the game was boring."
Watch the highlights of the Europa League final HERE