José Mourinho did not look very happy. His Manchester United team had just beaten Southampton to claim the EFL Cup, his first major trophy since moving to Old Trafford. Yet he could barely break into a smile.
The Portuguese is ever the perfectionist, of course, and was perhaps frustrated at the nature of the performance against Southampton. United could easily have lost the final, but they went on to win it 3-2. Mourinho usually finds a way to win them.
Afterwards, the former Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss admitted the victory had been “a relief” and claimed that he was “very happy” – even if his dour expression seemed to say otherwise.
That is nothing new with Mourinho. Even when he led Porto to the Champions League in 2003-04, there was no real celebration from the coach. It was, perhaps, just part of the process.
José knows the value of winning a cup. His first trophy at Chelsea was the League Cup, as it was in his second spell at Stamford Bridge. At Inter, his tenure began with a Supercoppa Italiana, and at Real Madrid he kicked off by winning the Copa del Rey.
Bigger prizes followed in each case and at United (where he won the Community Shield by beating Leicester in his first fixture), this title will also help if he is unable to lead his side into the top four of the Premier League at the end of the season – having spent most of the current campaign in sixth place.
Missing out on the Champions League would be a big blow, but with a trophy in the bag, there is momentum for Mourinho at Old Trafford and that is vital. Now, United fans will be hoping this is just the start of a special story with more significant silverware to come.