Sunday 11 December 2016

Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn well aware of Zlatan Ibrahimovic threat

Published 05/11/2016 | 22:36

Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn, pictured, is relishing his reunion with Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn, pictured, is relishing his reunion with Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn renews battle with Zlatan Ibrahimovic admitting the Manchester United striker has left him bemused in the past.

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Ibrahimovic's form in front of goal mirrors that of a stuttering United side who have failed to score in their last three Premier League games.

The veteran Swede has scored only once in 11 games and has not found the net in the league for nearly two months ahead of United's visit to Swansea on Sunday.

But former Ajax centre-back Van der Hoorn has painful memories of marking Ibrahimovic in a Champions League tie against Paris St Germain in November 2014.

Ibrahimovic scored in a 3-1 PSG victory and Van der Hoorn said: "We played quite well and then suddenly he just finishes in the far corner.

"I was stood there thinking 'how can he do that?'

"The trainer was satisfied with my performance as I won all my duels. But the one duel you're just behind him and he finishes you off.

"At the moment maybe he's not quite good with his finishing, but sometimes you don't see him for the whole match and suddenly he's there to finish it.

"I think he's the strongest player in the Premier League, and besides that he's good technically."

United's trip to south Wales also provides an opportunity for Van der Hoorn to catch up with former team-mates Daley Blind and Memphis Depay.

Van der Hoorn played with Blind at Ajax while Depay - who cost United £25million from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2015 but has yet to start in the Premier League this term - was in the same Holland Under-21 set-up.

"I'm surprised he's not getting a game," the 24-year-old said of Depay.

"He's the type of player that you enjoy to watch. Like Zlatan, he can have one moment and can burst through you and score.

"He was playing so well at PSV that nobody cared (what he did off the field). That's how it goes.

"If you have a bad season and you still have his mentality then people will look into you.

"If you play amazing at Manchester United then no-one wants to know your private life. It's a pity."

Van der Hoorn has yet to savour a Premier League victory since leaving Amsterdam in the summer.

Swansea have not won since the opening day of the season and new manager Bob Bradley accepts the club are in a relegation battle.

"I won one title with Ajax and one Super Cup," Van der Hoorn said.

"So this is new (experience) for me, for a lot of the players here also.

"You have to change your mentality and see 16th place, out of the relegation zone, as a title.

"The season isn't over yet and you have to keep playing with freedom and believing that you will get results."

Press Association

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