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Mourinho warns Ibrahimovic over his return; Swedish striker suggests supporters be patient

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly urged Zlatan Ibrahimovic not to rush back from his injury as the club will need him to be 100% fit. Mourinho has already confirmed that the Swedish striker will be available for the second half of the season, which would suggest he would be fit and ready to go in January but Ibrahimovic has been posting social media videos suggesting he is nearing a return, which could be just to get him the attention he craves as the media will give him that now that he is about to play for United again. Ibrahimovic suffered knee ligament damage in April in a UEFA Europa League clash at Old Trafford and it was suggested at the time his career could be over, it soon being confirmed that the Swede was lucky.

It has been speculated that Ibrahimovic could be back in action as early as the end of October, but nothing has been confirmed by the club, the player or his representatives. The Swede will be eager to get back into action for his team after suffering that sore blow towards the end of last season, missing the end of the season including the Europa League final at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden where United beat Ajax in the final in May, lifting the trophy, the only major honour United had not yet won in the history of the club. It is only logical that the player would be eager to return from such an injury but on the other hand, it is wise for Mourinho to take the stance he has in the players return. Mourinho, reported by The Sun has previously said:

“I think we need him. We wait for him, but with patience.

“He has to be patient.

“He doesn’t have to be emotional and he doesn’t have to try to make crazy things to improve in his mind quicker.

“Because I know that his desire is to improve quicker. So calm. Step by step.

“We want him. But we want him in the best conditions.”

Last season, Ibrahimovic helped himself to 28 goals in all competitions for the Old Trafford outfit, the first player to score as many goals for some time, which was welcome by the clubs supporters as it seemed to change the outlook of the players, now looking to win rather than continue the stance they were in ever since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and the disastrous appointment of David Moyes. Ibrahimovic, among other things, brought the winning mentality United had been missing for some time, which was the start of Jose Mourinho’s plan to return the club to the pinnacle of football, which is still a way off, but a lot closer than it has been in the last four or five years.

Ibrahimovic has been giving some tasters of his fitness through his Instagram channel on social media and a few days ago posted a video of himself on a treadmill which showed him testing out his knee ready for his return, whenever it may be. Ibrahimovic posted a message to suggest that everyone is patient with his return. Perhaps he only wants to show the supporters that he is getting to the level of fitness he needs to, not that he is near a return. Whether he comes back in October of January, he will have plenty of opportunities to get back into action with January bringing the Emirates FA Cup, the Premier League and possibly even the latter stages of the Carabao Cup with the UEFA Champions League commencing the following month, should United make it out of their group. Ibrahimovic posted the following on Instagram:

“The knee is almost there. I want everybody to have patience. And when I come back, the world will know.”

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, has previously given some information on the player’s return, suggesting the same as Mourinho, that it would be the New Year before the Swedish hitman graced the field again, saying:

“It’s fine, everything goes on to the best.

“It’s about a possible return to the field in January, but we know that can not anticipate it. We just have to wait for it, for sure it is very good.”

With the form of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku, having Ibrahimovic fit would be a big boost with the number of matches United will be playing through the upcoming months, which would pose a problem for Mourinho, a problem which many managers would love to have. Sir Alex Ferguson has had the problem a few times with the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Teddy Sheringham, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Louis Saha, Ruud van Nistelrooy and many more able forwards over the last years of his near 27 tenure at the club. Having four proficient forwards to choose from would severely strengthen United, leave the club less reliant on a particular striker and keep the opposition on their toes.

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