Category: Europa League

Europa League 2016/2017: Another trophy for Mourinho

Europa League 2016/2017: Another trophy for Mourinho

Manchester United were desperate to book their place in the Champions League and thanks to a 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final the Red Devils outfit qualified for the elite competition. Fellow Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur failed to impress in the 2016/2017 Europa League campaign, but Jose Mourinho’s men managed to put an end to Sevilla’s dominance in the European competition.

Manchester United failed to impress in the 2016/2017 Premier League season, with the team finishing the campaign in sixth place in the standings. Jose

Mourinho’s troops were with one eye on the Europa League final in the season finale and they were fully focused on the clash against Ajax.

The Red Devils impressed in the title game, the Premier League team adopt a defence-minded approach in the Friends Arena showdown and they managed to prevent Ajax attackers from creating clear-cut chances to score. Taking everything into account, Manchester United, who outplayed the likes of Saint-Etienne, Rostov, Anderlecht and Celta Vigo on their way to the final, totally deserved to win the Europa League trophy and to qualify for the Champions League group stages.

Tottenham Hotspur, on the other hand, are one of the teams who should have recorded a better result in the Europa League last term. Spurs made it to the knockout stages of the competition, but they suffered a shocking elimination by Belgian side Gent in the last 32.

Despite being regarded as hot favourites to beat APOEL in the Europa League last 32, Athletic Bilbao suffered a shocking elimination in the knockout stages. Seeing that La Liga side Sevilla won previous three Europa League finals, many people expected that the Basques would be the team to beat in the 2016/2017 campaign, but they eventually failed to give fans a reason for celebration.

Against all odds, Celta Vigo made it to the Europa League semis. Several first-team regulars left the club in the summer transfer window and nobody expected that the likes of Iago Aspas, John Guidetti and Theo Bongonda would eliminate Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 32. Os Celeste proved their worth in the double-header against Krasnodar as well and thanks to a win over Genk they set up a meeting with Manchester United in the semi-finals of the competition. However, Ibrahimovic-less Red Devils proved to be a big catch for Eduardo Berizzo’s troops.

Ajax youngsters were producing outstanding performances on their way to the Europa League final, but the lack of experience proved to be a big catch for the Amsterdammers in the title game against Manchester United. The Eredivisie side outplayed the likes of Legia, Copenhagen, Schalke and Lyon in the knockout stages, but they played below expectations in the Friends Arena clash. However, despite failing to win the Europa League trophy, Ajax will represent Netherlands in the Champions League qualifiers as they finished the 2016/2017 Eredivisie campaign in second place in the standings.

Taking everything into account, Manchester United saved the season by winning the Europa League trophy, but Jose Mourinho will have to be very active this summer if the Red Devils are to be competitive in the Champions League next term.