Football: Europa League victory lifted Manchester, says Ferguson

Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney (centre) celebrates with the trophy and the team.
Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney (centre) celebrates with the trophy and the team.PHOTO: AFP

(AFP) - Manchester United's Europa League victory gave the city a boost just two days after a devastating suicide bomb attack left 22 dead and dozens injured, claimed legendary former manager Alex Ferguson.

United beat Dutch side Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm - goals by Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan sealing an emotional win and a place in the Champions League next season - to deliver some joy to the city that saw pop concert goers as young as eight killed by the blast.

Ferguson, who managed United through a golden era from 1986 to 2013 which saw them win the Champions League twice among many other trophies, told Sky Sports that Manchester was a resilient city.

"First of all Manchester is a working-class city and it has fantastic people there," said the 75-year-old Scot, who began his working life in the Glasgow shipyards.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

"They went through some difficult times in the past, they will get together because they've got a working-class ethic about them and there's a great unity there in the city.

"I think United gave the city a lift and I think that was what it was about. We're all proud of them, it was a great achievement."

The trophy is not the only lift the club gave the city as United and Manchester City pledged £1 million (S$1.8 million) on Thursday (May 25) to an emergency fund set up for the victims and their families.