Jose Mourinho, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford pose with the trophy on journey back to Manchester
THE victorious stars of Manchester United are pictured celebrating with the Europa League trophy as they fly home on Wednesday night.
Goals from Paul Pogba and Henrkh Mkhitaryan ensured another trophy for the famous club and their controversial manager Jose Mourinho on a memorable night in the Swedish capital.
Mourinho and Pogba posed with the trophy and took selfies on the flight from Stockholm to Manchester.
Keep up to date with all the latest news, gossip, rumours and done deals in SunSport’s live transfer blog
Marcus Rashford, Michael Carrick, Juan Mata, Eric Bailly, Anthony Valencia and Jesse Lingard also posed for snaps as they relaxed after an emotional victory.
The Europa League winners paid tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena massacre in the wake of their 2-0 victory over Ajax.
And the United players spoke of their mixed emotions at the final whistle, just two days after 22 people died in a terrorist atrocity at the Manchester Arena on Monday.
Pogba said: “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.”
Midfielder Juan Mata added: “Especially after what happened 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.”
United’s first European trophy in nine years brings with it the welcome boon of Champions League qualification after a disappointing Premier League campaign.
Europa League glory also means United join Ajax, Bayern Munich and Juventus as the only clubs to have won all three major UEFA trophies, including the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup, as well as the Club World Cup or the Intercontinental Cup.
Mourinho said: “For me, it is the most important trophy of my career because it is the last.
“That’s the way I look at things. Of course Champions League is bigger than Europa League, but that’s the last trophy and the last trophy is the one where the feelings are under the skin and it’s obviously a fantastic feeling for the team.
“It means everything. It means the third trophy [after the Community Shield and the EFL Cup], it means going back to the Champions League, it means winning a European trophy, it means playing European Super League in Macedonia next August.
“It means for the club the last piece of the puzzle, it is now like Ajax is and some other clubs – a club with every trophy in the world of football.
“So it means a lot for me, it means for a lot for the club, for the boys and for the supporters, too, I believe.”