Football: 'We'd exchange cup for victims' lives' - Mourinho

Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho speaks during a news conference after winning the UEFA Europa League final match.
PHOTO: Reuters

Stockholm - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said his side would give up their Europa League trophy if it would bring back the 22 victims of Monday's terror attack in Manchester.

United beat Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm on Wednesday to win the Europa League for the first time, but the game was overshadowed by the deadly suicide attack on concert-goers at Manchester Arena, which also left dozens injured.

"If we could, we would obviously change the people's lives for this cup, immediately," Mourinho told reporters at the Friends Arena.

"We wouldn't think twice. Does this cup make the city of Manchester a little bit happier? Maybe. But we just came to do our job.

"We came without the happiness we should bring with us, because when you come for these big matches you come happy, you come proud. And we didn't. we just came to do our job." The game was preceded by a minute's silence, which was interrupted by applause from both sets of fans, and United's players wore black armbands.

Photos: Explosions at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

  • Salman Abedi has been named by police as the suspected suicide bomber. Source: Twitter/ @STcom
  • Police have arrested the suspect's brother, Ismail Abedi, and raided his house. Source: Twitter
  • A man adding a single rose to a the messages and floral tributes in Albert Square in Manchester, on May 23. Source: AFP
  • Women lighting candles following a vigil in central Manchester, on May 23. Source: Reuters
  • Messages and floral tributes are seen in Albert Square in Manchester, on May 23. Source: AFP
  • Source: Reuters
  • Source: AFP
  • Several monuments also lit up in blue, red and white colours, like the Orlando Eye. Source: Twitter/ @theorlandoeye
  • Zagreb: fountain tribute Source: AFP
  • London: Kingsbury Mandir Source: Twitter/ @SGadiLondon
  • Hong Kong: HSBC buidling Source: Twitter/ @breaking9news
  • Amsterdam: Central Station Source: Twitter/ @sebasvds
  • Abu Dhabi: Adnoc Group HQ Source: Twitter/ @AdnocGroup
  • Belfast: City Hall Source: Twitter/ @stuartrobinson1
  • Berlin: Brandenburg gate Source: Twitter/ @Nikiiide
  • Dubai: Burj Khalifa Source: Twitter/ @DCFCdubai
  • The Empire State building in NYC goes dark in remembrance of the attack victims. Source: Twitter/ @breaking911
  • Photos of the victims were shared on Twitter. Source: Twitter
  • Source: Twitter
  • Source: Twitter
  • Source: Twitter
  • Source: Twitter
  • Source: Twitter
  • The arena broke into chaos, with people rushing to leave. Source: Twitter/ @hannawwh
  • Source: Twitter/ @hannawwh
  • Source: Twitter/ @hannawwh
  • Source: Twitter/ @JSMcbrearty
  • People were seen rushing out of the arena. Source: Instagram/ @zachwhiteguybruce
  • Source: Instagram/ @zachwhiteguybruce
  • A woman posted on Facebook the results of the explosion on her belongings and body. Source: Screengrab from Abby Mullen's Facebook
  • A rumour about the explosion being a "big balloon" being popped was addressed by a twitter user who was in the arena. Source: Twitter/ @cj_coulter
  • The exit of the arena was packed. Source: Twitter/ @JSMcbrearty
  • The chaos of everybody leaving the arena led to heavy traffic. Source: Twitter/ @1875SHA
  • The police also released a statement on their Twitter page. Source: Screengrab from Twitter account @gmpolice
  • A bomb disposal unit was pictured to arrive at the scene. Source: Twitter/ @pavbeee
  • The police released another statement later. Source: Screengrab from Twitter account @gmpolice
  • Forensic police search the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Britain on May 23. Source: Reuters
  • Ariana Granda sent out a tweet after the incident.

Mourinho agreed with European governing body UEFA's decision for the match to go ahead, but said the victory would always be associated with sad thoughts about what happened in Manchester.

"It's really hard," said the Portuguese, whose pre-match press conference on Tuesday was cancelled.

"That's why yesterday we didn't want to have the press conference because we had to prepare ourselves to do our job and to try to forget events that are obviously much more important than our job.

"But the world goes on. It doesn't stop and we have to do our work. I agree with the UEFA decision to play the match.

"But if we have questions like your questions that made us return to this tragedy, obviously it takes happiness from our achievement." Paul Pogba, who opened the scoring in the game, dedicated the triumph to the victims, saying: "We played for the people who died." "These things are terrible all over the world, in London and in Paris," said Pogba, who was also playing at the Stade de France on the night of the November 2015 Paris terror attacks.

"We went out focused to win and we won for Manchester and the country," he told BT Sport.

"We played for England, we played for Manchester and we played for the people who died."

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