The Олимп-2 pitch in Rostov-on-Don was frozen. It was wonderfully patchy and Jose Mourinho wondered if you could even call it a field at all. His desire to have the venue changed was laughed off by a UEFA official, Mourinho claiming the official told him “the players are insured, so if something happens, no problem.”
After appearing a shadow of his former self throughout the season, particularly over a wretched three-month period stretching from early December through late February when Wes Morgan outscored him by plundering a goal against Derby County, Riyad Mahrez sprang to life with a magical and all-important goal against Hull City on Saturday.
After twisting and turning at the top of the box, the Algerian scored his fourth goal of the Premier League season, lifting Leicester City five points clear of the relegation zone in the process.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s quest to win trophies for Manchester United is being realized with stunning proficiency. After scoring late for Man United in their FA Community Shield victory over Leicester City to mark his Red Devil Wembley debut, Zlatan has continued his act by scoring twice, including an 87th minute winner, to lift United over Southampton in the EFL Cup final, 3-2.
For better or for worse, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has taken every competition seriously this campaign. You could say for better because it’s resulted in United reaching the EFL Cup final, the FA Cup quarterfinals and the Europa League round of 16.
You could say for worse because with the Red Devils holding a 3-0 advantage over Saint-Etienne in the Europa League, Mourinho elected to field a strong side in the second leg, resulting in injuries that will rule both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick out of Sunday’s EFL Cup final.