Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho could not refuse a dig at Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp after his side reached the EFL Cup final despite suffering a scare against Hull.
Midfielder Paul Pogba, who cost United £89m in the summer, ultimately proved the difference as he cancelled out Tom Huddlestone’s first-half penalty before Everton loanee Oumar Niasse set up a tense finale by netting late on.
Defeat ended United’s 17-match unbeaten run but their aggregate win was enough to set a date with Southampton at Wembley on 26 February where Mourinho will be seeking his first Old Trafford trophy.
Klopp cited a strong wind as a mitigating factor as Liverpool lost their semi-final to the Saints on Wednesday, and Mourinho, who clashed with the German earlier this month, was only too happy to ridicule his rival.
“Wembley will be windy, so we may struggle,” said Mourinho, who celebrated his 54th birthday yesterday.
“[But] I feel happy. We got to Wembley. We had a difficult draw, difficult opponents, difficult matches but we did it. Wembley has, for professionals with passion for football, a special meaning and a special feeling.”
Hull halved their first-leg deficit on 35 minutes when Marcos Rojo was adjudged to have illegally grappled Hull centre half Harry Maguire and Huddlestone confidently dispatched the resulting spot-kick.
Pogba restored United’s two-goal buffer on 66 minutes by prodding beyond Hull stopper David Marshall after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford had combined in the build up.
Rojo and Niasse both rattled the crossbar with headers before the Senegal striker rifled home from David Meyler’s cross to hand Hull a lifeline with five minutes remaining.