Jose Mourinho tells Man United fans to camp outside Zlatan Ibrahimovic's home if they want him to stay
Jose Mourinho urged Manchester United fans to camp outside EFL Cup match-winner Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s house all night to convince the striker to extend his contract for another season.
Ibrahimovic’s dramatic late winner took his goals tally to 20 in the past 22 games and 26 in total this season as the Swede once again rode to his team’s rescue and responded by declaring himself the Special One.
The 35-year-old, a contender for player of the season, agreed a 12-month contract with United last summer with the option of another year. He has yet to commit to the club for next season and Mourinho has encouraged fans to do all they can to convince the player to stay.
“I never bank for a player to sign a contract, I never bank for a player to play for me,” Mourinho said. “One day Zlatan decided to go to Barcelona [from Inter Milan] and [as the manager] I was very sad and did nothing to try to stop him to go.But, if needed, I think maybe United fans can go to the door of his house and stay there all night.
“We all want and believe that he is going to stay with us one more season. He won the game for us because he was outstanding. I was his manager [at Inter]. I know the potential. Only a silly player comes to England when he is 35 and with the successful career that Zlatan has. Only a silly player comes here if he doesn’t feel that he can do it.
“The most important feeling is his feeling. I don’t bring him here if he doesn’t want to come, if he’s not ready. Everything is from him, nothing from me.”
Mourinho famously anointed himself the Special One when unveiled as Chelsea manager in 2004 and Ibrahimovic talked about himself in similar terms after securing the 32nd trophy of his extraordinary playing career.
“I came [here], that is special,” he said. “I came to win and I am winning. I just have to keep going but the more I win, the more satisfied I get.
“You appreciate it more the older you get. In the beginning it is more like fun, you don’t realise what a trophy means. The older I get, the more I am surrounded by a winning mentality. It is all about winning, all about winning those trophies.
“This is what I am doing. I think this is trophy No 32 for me. Wherever I have gone I have won. I predicted what I’m doing now and what I will continue to do. Everything I thought would happen, has happened. I think the other ones didn’t see it.
“I got a call from Jose Mourinho [last summer], I have a good relationship with him and when he called that’s the reason I came.”
Mourinho seemed strangely subdued but insisted he was “very happy” after winning the 24th trophy of his 17-year managerial career.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself,” he said. “I want very much to win a major trophy at every club. But doing that with Manchester United there is quite a sense of belief because it was a big target for me. But the reality is that we want more. I don’t want to look at it as a platform [for the rest of the season]. I prefer to look at it as one less competition that we delete from our minds.”