Jose Mourinho was full of praise for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the wake of Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Swansea City in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Swede, prior to the clash with Bob Bradley’s side, had gone eight games without a goal under Mourinho, with his last goal coming against Zorya Luhansk in early October.
Zlatan duly ended that drought at the Liberty Stadium, however, netting twice in the first-half to wrap up a convincing victory.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho was quick to express his delight at seeing the Swede return to scoring ways.
“He is not a player who lacks confidence. I used to say that a striker who doesn’t score goals and does nothing else is one player less,” he said.
“But a striker that doesn’t score goals but does everything else is a very important player for the team. He wasn’t scoring goals but he was doing everything else.
“He was working defensively, in the build up and the second phase of the attack, he was giving assists and contributing towards the goalkeeper that was playing against us always being the man of the match.
“He was doing so many things that I wasn’t worried but today we needed goals and he got them.”
As a striker, you are judged on the basis of one thing: goals. If you’re scoring, the agenda goes, you’re a top player; if you’re not, go find a place on the bench.
But to scrutinise Zlatan in such a way fails to capture the true nature of the Swede’s quality. Even at times of immense ineptitude in front of goal, Ibrahimovic can still play a crucial role: linking up with teammates, holding up the ball, making incisive passes and crunching headers. With Zlatan, you really do get the full package, and United fans witnessed a true masterclass today.