Thursday 14 December 2017

Jose Mourinho to hand Zlatan Ibrahimovic extra time off for 'a la carte' holiday

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith

Luke Edwards

Jose Mourinho has revealed he will allow Zlatan Ibrahimovic to choose when he needs a holiday like a dish from an a la carte menu as he looks to prolong his career at the top level.

Ibrahimovic looked a little jaded in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Hull City at the weekend and he will be allowed to take four days off training this week in order to recharge during the international break.

The 34-year-old sensibly decided to retire from international football after Sweden’s early exit from the European Championships, a decision Mourinho believes will help United get the best of him.

“If you’re 34 years of age, you need to rest,” Mourinho said. “You can’t play 70 matches. The other guys who aren’t selected for their national teams, I give them two days off.

“For Zlatan, I give holidays a la carte. It depends on the situation. He’s playing every match, every minute. Four matches, he has played 360 minutes. Four days off for the big guy.”

There was a view that Ibrahimovic and Rooney would not be able to play together, although United’s impressive start to the season has allayed fears they are too similar to be effective as a partnership.

Nevertheless, they struggled to break down Hull’s strong, organised and deep lying defence on Saturday night and it was only when Marcus Rashford came off the bench to inject some pace up front that United started to create more problems going forward.

But Ibrahimovic is already popular in the United dressing room, with Rooney insisting he is not the prima donna people have accused him of being in the past.

“Since he's come in he's been great with the players,” Rooney said. “He's a team player. In the dressing room he's delighted we've got the three points, he hasn’t mentioned once about becoming the first player to score in his first four Premier League games.

“We're working on our partnership every day in training. The games are where it's important and you hope the training you do pays off. I'm sure in the upcoming games things will get better and hopefully that will benefit the team.”

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport