Saturday 21 April 2018

Jose Mourinho confirms Ibrahimovic is closing in on a return

Manager Jose Mourinho of Manchester United speaks during a press conference at Aon Training Complex on October 20, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)
Manager Jose Mourinho of Manchester United speaks during a press conference at Aon Training Complex on October 20, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is due to return to action in 2017, after a rapid recovery from a serious knee injury sustained in April.

Ibrahimovic was handed a new contract by United in August, despite the veteran Swede still being several months away from a return to action and yet Mourinho has not confirmed his return date is edging closer.

“Zlatan is here, under our control, working as I would expect, so, so hard, but he’s not back in a week or a couple of weeks,” stated the United boss.

“Let’s let him take his time and be back when everybody feels is the right moment. Do I think he will be back in 2017? Yes I do, but it’s just a feeling.”

Mourinho went on suggest he ‘did not know’ when Paul Pogba would return from his hamstring injury, while Marcus Rashford is fit to play against Huddersfield on Saturday after an injury scare in Wednesday night’s Champions League game against Benfica.

Mourinho criticised his rivals for ‘crying’ about injury problems in his press conference following the 1-0 win against Benfica, yet much of his latest media briefing was focused on his own injury issues, with Ibrahimovic, Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Maraoune Fellaini all on the sidelines.

When asked whether he would consider strengthening his squad in January to plug the holes that have been exposed in his squad this season, Mourinho offered this response:

“I don’t know what to say. Yes, it is true, I wanted four players and I think clearly everybody knows the position, maybe you know the player, didn’t happen but we adapt to it and try the best we can.

“The injury process normally is some guys get injured, some guys recover from injury unless we lose completely the balance this happens to almost every team unless some team has a phenomenal season where everything goes well and not even a broken nail happens to a player.

“What I expect from a normal season is Zlatan will be back and Marcos will be back, and Pogba and Fellaini will be back and someone will get injured.

“I don’t want to speak about signings yet, or market or January, we are in October, we have November, December and half of October to play, so why should I speak about the market.”

Mourinho also confirmed that defender Luke Shaw was fit, but was ‘still working’ to get back into his first team plans.

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