Sunday 17 December 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic compares himself to Benjamin Button after scoring in win over Sunderland

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic says the Red Devils are fully focused on finishing in the Premier League's top four following their 3-0 victory against bottom side Sunderland, who finished the game with 10 men.

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring after half an hour at the Stadium of Light and the Swedish forward believes Jose Mourinho's side - who lie fifth in the table - are well placed for a finish inside the Champions League places.

He told Sky Sports 1: "(It was an) Important three points. Today was a good win and we have to keep working, keep believing we can reach the top four. We will do everything to get to the top four.

"The game was good and we get 1-0 (up) and they get the red card. Afterwards we play with one more, sometimes it can be more difficult and sometimes it can be an advantage."

Ibrahimovic put his continued good form down to hard work and compared himself to film character Benjamin Button, who lived his life in reverse.

The 35-year-old added: "I train hard, I keep focusing, I believe in what I do. It seems like the older I get the more intelligent I get. You don't waste so much energy. I feel like Benjamin Button - I was born old and I will die young."

United also scored through Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford and to make things worse for the Black Cats midfielder Sebastian Larsson was shown a straight red card for his first-half tackle on Ander Herrera when they were already a goal down.

Mourinho was pleased his side had secured three points after Liverpool and Manchester City - the teams in third and fourth in the table - both won on Saturday.

He said: "We reacted to the results of yesterday. We got the three points, (with a) solid performance against a team that is sad. When you play against a team that is sad if you score before (them) the game is almost over because it is difficult to react.

"They fought hard, they gave everything they could but you can feel that negative feeling around a team that is close to relegation."

Of Ibrahimovic's performance, Mourinho added: "You need these players sometimes to make it and normally every top team has a couple of them that can make a difference. Zlatan did that with the goal."

Sunderland manager David Moyes felt referee Craig Pawson had not done his side any favours.

"We have to fix our own faults first but I certainly didn't think the decisions helped us today," he said.

"I don't want to really focus on the referee but I think the decisions today had an impact on the game."

Moyes also vowed to fight on despite his team lying 10 points adrift of safety.

He said: "We keep fighting, we keep going. We need to give the supporters and everybody that little bit of hope."

Press Association

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