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25th May 2017

Jose Mourinho revelation shows you how desperately Zlatan Ibrahimovic wanted Manchester United to win

Used his Swedish charms

Patrick McCarry

Zlatan Ibrahimovic did every single thing a man on crutches could do to help Manchester United to finish the season on a high.

The Swedish striker fell victim to a long-term injury on the night United qualified for the Europa League semi-final.

As soon as surgery on his injured knee was wrapped, Ibrahimovic set about getting back to full fitness as soon as possible. Still, he kept in with events at Carrington and Old Trafford and was said to be in close contact with many of the United squad during the run-in.

He spoke with the team before they went out onto the Friends Arena pitch and was vocal in the stands, and on the sideline, as the final neared the final whistle.

Following the match, United boss Jose Mourinho revealed the small but significant role the Swede played in his side closing out the 2-0 victory over Ajax. Mourinho told reporters:

“I was sorry about Zlatan not playing in this final but… he played. He played outside [the pitch] with crutches. With the other guys – Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly. They were playing behind the bench. They were shouting; doing everything.

“On top of it all, Zlatan in the second-half was telling the ball boys, in Swedish, to take it easy. So, even outside he was playing for us.

“I’m so pleased that, in his amazing career, that he finally gets a European trophy.”

He sure did, and didn’t he enjoy it: