Paul Pogba dedicated Manchester United’s Europa League title triumph on Wednesday to the 22 people killed in Monday’s terror attack in Manchester, defiantly saying: “We played for the people who died”.
An emotional evening in Stockholm began with a moment of silence, in memory of those killed at a concert at Manchester Arena, before goals from Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan clinched a 2-0 victory over Ajax.
“These things are terrible all over the world, in London and in Paris. We went out focused to win and we won for Manchester and the country,” Pogba, who was also playing at the Stade de France on the night of the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, told BT Sport.
“We played for England, we played for Manchester, and we played for the people who died.”
United players wore black armbands while chants of “Manchester” rang out from their fans as reminders of the attack were everywhere at the Friends Arena in Sweden.
Victory enabled United to complete a sweep of European trophies — joining Juventus, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Chelsea as the only clubs to have won the Champions League, the Europa League and the now defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Spain international Juan Mata expressed his delight at helping United land the only major trophy missing from the club’s honours, but his thoughts were also primarily with those affected by the shocking events in Manchester.
“We have won a trophy the club has never won so we are really happy,” said Mata.
“It means a lot as it is my first European trophy with United and after what happened yesterday it is nice to bring a trophy back for Manchester.
“It has been a really difficult week in the city of Manchester and we are happy to win for all the people that have suffered.”