Southampton striker Manolo Gabbiadini has revealed what Jose Mourinho said to him following Manchester United’s 3-2 League Cup final win over the Saints on Sunday.
The Italian, with his side 2-0 down against Mourinho’s men, claimed two goals either side of half time at Wembley to set-up a truly pulsating finish to the game.
Gabbiadini has now claimed five goals in his opening three games as a Southampton player, and Chris Smalling – turned inside out by the Italian all afternoon – will be the first to tell you that there is more to come from the 25-year-old in the coming months.
Speaking after the game, Gabbiadini reflected on how Mourinho congratulated him for his two “phenomenal goals” at full time.
“When someone like him comes up to you and says ‘you did a great job, you scored two phenomenal goals’ you feel something special inside you,” he said.
“Mourinho is a special person, and not just for his successes as a coach. He’s really charismatic.”
The League Cup was the medium through which Mourinho announced himself to the English footballing audience for the first time, claiming a 3-2 win over Liverpool in Cardiff back in 2005. He was a picture of joy, relishing in his first big triumph on English soil.
Eleven years later, Mourinho claimed another dramatic 3-2 League Cup final win, sending yet another message to an English football that has, on the whole, written the Special One off in recent months. This time around, however, there were no smiles, no signs of even the slightest form of satisfaction.
The Portuguese sees the game in more pragmatic, objective terms these days, and he clearly felt compelled by this new mindset to remind Gabbiadini that he played a major role in what was a truly heart-stopping encounter.