Manchester United: Jose Mourinho Celebrates First Trophy at Wembley Stadium

Ibrahimovic and Mourinho
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho at Wembley Stadium, London, August 7. Manchester United won the Community Shield. Ben Hoskins/Getty

Mission accomplished for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United: One game, one trophy. This was to be no celebration of last year's achievements for them. Instead, it was an opportunity to wipe those memories clean in the new season's curtain-raiser.

In the blue corner, the Premier League title winners Leicester City and, in the red corner, FA Cup holders Manchester United, with a new look team both on and off the pitch.

This remains a day of celebration. The two champions of England going head-to-head in the new season's opening match. It may well have been another day to soak in the glory for Claudio Ranieri and his Leicester side, but for Mourinho this was just another step toward the real business of the Premier League opener next weekend.

Leicester was unchanged in style: compact in defense, seeking the opportunity to unleash the pace of Jamie Vardy in attack. This was an opportunity for Mourinho to bed in his new additions in a game with the intensity of the Premier League, while giving a taste of success with a trophy to raise aloft.

Although the outfit may have been different, not a great deal had changed in style. United lacked pace in attack with Zlatan Ibrahimovic struggling to hold the ball up on his debut. The big Swede failed to influence the game for much of the match, unable to prove wrong those who believe he hasn't got the energy to compete in the English league.

But, in true Ibrahimovic style, of course, he stepped up late in the game, towering above Leicester's rock Wes Morgan, to head in the winner right in front of the United end at Wembley Stadium. Mourinho punched the air; Rui Faria, his assistant, leapt from the bench in delight. Their was a flicker of belief that Ibrahimovic may well play a pivotal role in their first campaign at Old Trafford.

His arrival this summer along with attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has thrown Wayne Rooney's position in Mourinho's team into doubt. Not in the midfield, we know. Here, then, Mourinho deployed his captain in the number 10 role, just behind Ibrahimovic.

With the frustrated Swede dropping deep to collect the ball, the duo began to suffocate each other's space. Further back in the field, fellow new signing Eric Bailly, who arrived at Old Trafford for £34 ($44 million), thrived against the pace of Jamie Vardy in the first-half.

The Ivorian looked composed up against the dizzying speed of Vardy. Twice he followed the England striker into the penalty area, yard for yard, before hooking the ball to safety.

Mourinho believes he can mould Bailly into a player with the qualities of Real Madrid's Raphael Varane. On this evidence, he may be already on his way.

With all the new arrivals at Old Trafford this summer, the inevitable question was where all the rising stars of Louis van Gaal, Mourinho's predecessor, would fit into the Portuguese's plans. Mourinho bristled when questioned on this topic during pre-season, even producing a list of names of youth players he had promoted during his career.

Marcus Rashford would have to settle for a cameo role from the bench at Wembley, but 23-year-old Jesse Lingard started on the right wing with Anthony Martial on the left. Midway through the half, Mourinho switched the pair. And two minutes later he had his reward.

Collecting the ball just inside the Leicester half, Lingard set off with such pace expected to be seen in Rio at the Maracana Stadium on August 15 for the men's 100 meters. Lingard skipped past one, then two, then three, before slipping the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.

He peeled away into the sun-soaked end of Wembley, in front of the Leicester fans, finishing with a celebratory jig. The "dab," which became the iconic celebration for Lingard last season, was not performed —possibly being saved for an imminent arrival at Old Trafford.

For, less than an hour before kick-off, news came out of Manchester of Paul Pogba's medical taking place before his world- record- breaking £100 million move from Juventus. Whatever the outcome, this was always going to be a pleasing day for Mourinho as he secured his fourth major signing of the summer before the Premier League begins next weekend.

But, on the pitch, this was typical Mourinho so far. His team lacked in chances but lead at the break through a moment of individual brilliance.

With Bailly managing Vardy and Shinji Okazaki, Ranieri injected further pace into his front line at half-time. New signing Ahmed Musa and Demarai Gray joined Vardy in attack, giving the United defense two new problems.

Just six minutes into the second, the move proved fruitful. Musa's darting run at the back four saw Bailly dive into a challenge. He missed and Marouane Fellaini's toe-poke back towards David de Gea, the United goalkeeper, fell short, allowing Vardy to sneak in an equalizer.

Leicester continued to trouble United's defense but, in the end, couldn't make the threat count. Antonio Valencia raided down the right in the 83rd minute and stood a ball up for Ibrahimovic, who rose above Morgan and headed his effort onto the post and in.

United managed the closing minutes and secured a first trophy under Mourinho. A victorious start for the new man, and the winning mentality has already returned to the reds.

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