Tuesday 12 December 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Michael Carrick have contract decisions on the horizon

Jose Mourinho is confident he has the player contract situation under control at Manchester United
Jose Mourinho is confident he has the player contract situation under control at Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Michael Carrick have decisions to make on their careers next summer - the only players whose future Jose Mourinho does not believe Manchester United have under "control" beyond this season.

Last week Arsenal sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Premier League rivals Liverpool, cashing in on the England international with his contract due to expire in the summer along with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

The latter duo have remained amid uncertainty regarding their future and Mourinho is sure there will be no such issues at Old Trafford any time soon.

Juan Mata, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw and Sam Johnstone have just a season remaining on their United deals, but the Portuguese points to the one-year extension clauses included within them.

The biggest question marks regard the future of injured striker Ibrahimovic and captain Carrick, with the veterans' contracts due to expire next summer.

"Of course it makes a difference (to have a one-year option)," Mourinho said.

"When the club has a one-year option, it means that the players have one more year of contract so nobody is in the last year.

"The two players are in this situation are Zlatan and Carrick - two players that at the end of the season who are going to sit and to analyse what they did and what they want to do.

"But just Carrick and Zlatan, all the other players are under the club control until end of the 18/19 season, so we are speaking about June '19. No player ends his contract."

Mourinho appears to have forgotten that Marouane Fellaini is another whose contract expires next summer, with United having invoked the extension clause in his deal in January.

The towering midfielder has had an impact off the bench in all three of United's Premier League matches to date - games that have brought three wins, 10 goals and a hat-trick of clean sheets.

With such results there is little wonder Mourinho believes there is a positive feeling around his "strong, united" squad, which he hopes to lead on to their first genuine title tilt since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

"We try to play the best we can," the former Chelsea boss said ahead of Saturday's trip to Stoke.

"We know that if you look in a pragmatic way and you see the last winners of the Premier League, the last winners of the Premier League they didn't play attacking football.

"They all played defensive football and counter-attack football.

"So that is according to the results the best way to win the Premier League.

"We try to play according to the qualities of our players. We try to play positive, we try to play good, but we try to win.

"And if one day to win we have to play defensive football, we have to do it.

"And if tomorrow we go to Stoke and Stoke in some moments of the match they put us under pressure and they are dominant, we have to be humble and we have to be pragmatic and we have to face that reality.

"If you ask me, do we go there and are going play with seven at the back, like some teams do, five plus two? No, we are not going to do that. We are going to try and play well and score goals.

"But if our opponent is better than us and dominant, we are humble enough to transform our way of playing to play for a result."

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