An “emotional” Jose Mourinho admitted his Manchester United side were second best for large parts as they beat Southampton 3-2 to win the EFL Cup.
United looked on course for a straightforward victory at Wembley following Ibrahimovic’s free-kick and a strike from Jesse Lingard, but goals either side of half-time from Manolo Gabbiadini drew Saints level.
Ibrahimovic then grabbed the winner three minutes from time as Mourinho lifted the trophy for a record-equalling fourth time as a manager.
The Portuguese boss admitted Southampton were superior for much of the final and praised Ibrahimovic for making the difference.
He now joins Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson as the only managers to have won four League Cups.
“I think he (Ibrahimovic) won the game for us because he was outstanding,” Mourinho said.
“In a match where our opponents were better than us for long periods of the game, they deserved to go to extra-time, they did not deserve to lose over 90 minutes. He made the difference and he gave us a cup.
“I’m a bit emotional, yes. It’s not easy to win titles, it’s not easy to win titles so many times, it’s not easy to cope with that pressure that I put myself under with my career.
“It was a game that I was feeling the difficulty, I want to pay the homage Southampton deserve and the only thing I can say is we have the cup in our hands but probably we should be now playing extra-time.”