Saturday 24 March 2018

Jose Mourinho uses strange clothing metaphor to explain why Zlatan Ibrahimović is not on China tour

Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses with the Manchester United kit
Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses with the Manchester United kit

Tom Rooney

Even when attempting to be coy, Jose Mourinho‘s diatribes are never particularly ambiguous, though he broke that mould when citing his reasons for giving Zlatan Ibrahimović a prolonged summer hiatus.

The Swedish striker, who arrived at Old Trafford as a free agent following a gilded-spell with PSG, is one of a number of Euro 2016 veterans not involved in United’s brief tour of China.

Sweden failed to progress from a group containing Ireland, Italy and Belgium at the recent Championships, after which Ibrahimović retired from international football, so the veteran striker has had plenty of time to recharge the batteries.

However, since signing on the dotted line for United, the 34-year-old has been enjoying a sun-kissed jaunt across America’s west coast.

Speaking in Shanghai, where United will play Borussia Dortmund tomorrow, Mourinho said the decision to leave the former Barcelona man on the shelf was not taken lightly while, somehow, reminding us of the importance of a good tailor.

"The best suits are the suits by measure. Suits made by measure should be better than going to a shop and just buying a size that may fit you well or not so well. I do the same for players. There are no two players the same.

"My decision on Zlatan is the consequence of many hours of study, analysis and discussion with my staff.

“Despite the fact he was out of the Euros one match before the English guys, everything is different. The body is different, the mind is different and the timing to have holidays and even things you don't know, and don't have to know, is to prepare in a different way like we do at training level.”

A martial arts practitioner, Ibrahimović set a record for power and explosion during his fitness test at United’s training ground and Mourinho, who managed him for a season at Inter Milan, claimed that he has already established how the attacker will be utilised going forward.

It is elsewhere, the former Real Madrid coach said he needs to wield his influence.

"We try to do suits by measure that are perfect for the person and the way I'm building the team is more important for me with the players from other positions than the one I think who is going to play as the striker.

“I need to change the profile of the team in relation to other dynamics. The striker will be the easy one to finish the puzzle."

Online Editors

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