Monday 26 September 2016

Mourinho convinced Ibrahimovic will defy his doubters

Published 22/07/2016 | 00:03

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho
Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses with the Manchester United kit

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has backed new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to defy his doubters and complete his medal collection in the Premier League next season.

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Many observers have suggested 34-year-old Swedish veteran Ibrahimovic is past his best as he looks to make his mark in the English top flight following his high profile move to Old Trafford, but Mourinho is convinced he will defy the doubters.

Having won league titles in Holland, Italy, Spain and France over the course of his decorated career, Mourinho has revealed that Ibrahimovic has come to the Premier League will a desire to add one more notch to his already trophy laden legacy.

“Let’s be honest, he’s very rich,” Mourinho told reporters in China. “He’s made money all his career, he’s won a lot of things, so you only come to the most difficult championship in the world if you feel you can do it.

“If you don’t feel you can do it, you go to America, China….or stay in the French League for one more season. So the guy wanted this one more challenge and I expect he's going to be very good for us.

“When I told him I'd won in England, Spain and Italy and he hadn’t, that he’d done Spain, Italy and France, he thought, 'Ah, I want to go. I want to win every one'. So his motivation is high.

Ibrahimovic hit 50 goals in 51 appearances for PSG last season and is viewed by Mourinho as the man to solve United’s goalscoring problems and help the development of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Photo: Thibault Camus/AP Photo
Ibrahimovic hit 50 goals in 51 appearances for PSG last season and is viewed by Mourinho as the man to solve United’s goalscoring problems and help the development of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Photo: Thibault Camus/AP Photo

“I know him very well. I always think there's our age in ID terms but then there's our real age because, for me, the real age is not the age on your ID. That's just a date when you were born.

“The real age, the real ID, is your body, your brain, your attitude and this guy is young, his body is amazing.

“The way he grew up playing the sports he did before football, especially martial arts, he was prepared in terms of his muscles, and the mental point of view in a different way to the traditional football player, in his DNA, his motivation.”

Mourinho worked with Ibrahimovic at Inter Milan and has remained a firm friend of the striker in the years since, with the new United boss certain his No.9 will be a talisman for his team in the new season.

“Sometimes people say the team has no leaders, but what we need is everybody with the same kind of mentality,” he added.

“I like communication and push them to communicate. I give a lot of instruction in training.

"It’s difficult for me to do the same in matches, so I need guys on the pitch to read the game, to understand what we want.

“Zlatan is going to be one of them and I feel already that we have guys to do the same. I don’t think we’re going to have a problem at that level. we have lots of quality.

“When I see our group in the attacking areas - Zlatan, Marcus Rashford, Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, all the wingers we have. I think we have lots of quality in attack to produce good football and score goals.”

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