Marcus Rashford has made it clear that Jose Mourinho is the right manager for Manchester United after claiming the Europa League.
The Portuguese weathered an endless barrage of criticism from pundits all season for failing to breach the top four spots as his side continually struggled for goals.
But Mourinho, as is often the case, had the last laugh by winning the Europa League in Stockholm, meaning his first season at Old Trafford ended with two major trophies and a place in the Champions League group stages.
And Rashford, who made the most appearances under the 54-year-old last season (53), was quick to heap praise on his boss.
“A lot of people have a lot of opinions about him, but what he’s done is clear,” he said. “It’s not all what people say. I’ve obviously played a lot of games under him this year and I’ve earned his trust, which is important for me and it’s got me to where I am now.”
“If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect other people to believe in you. I was confident going into the games and I think it’s just another step you take individually. Taking on the responsibility of being in that role is something you take pride in.”
I’m curious: have any other Man United fans asked themselves whether or not this was a good season? It’s almost as if the final stages of the campaign felt so arduous – so loaded with strife, injuries and seemingly thankless graft – that by the end it was hard to appreciate the way only Chelsea, objectively speaking, had a better campaign than United.
This is the Mourinho effect in full swing. He is still the master of steadily building something that, on the surface, seems moot, impossible to like, before ultimately silencing his doubters with unequivocal triumph. Indeed, the process by which his teams work towards results is not where the glory lies; to Mourinho, the ends justify the means, and in a results business hardly anybody can argue that strategy.