Rio Ferdinand has called on Jose Mourinho to address Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s inability to put away chances at Manchester United following his side’s 1-1 draw with Everton in the Premier League.
The Swede, making his return from a three-game suspension, spurned a fantastic one-on-one chance after four minutes and later sent a free header over the bar as Man United slumped to a ninth draw in 12 games at Old Trafford.
He did partially redeem himself with seconds left against Ronald Koeman’s side, sending Joel Robles the wrong way from the spot as Mourinho’s men preserved their unbeaten record – now 20 games – in the Premier League.
And Ferdinand, speaking on BT Sport, was quick to criticise Mourinho for not addressing such a painfully recurring issue.
“Jose Mourinho will be losing sleep over this,” he said.
“Opportunities coming to your main man and not being able to take them. It’s a perfect time to get a foothold in the game and put this Everton side to sleep. It has happened far too many times this season.”
This brings me to what I like to call the Paradox of Ibrahimovic: the Swede has scored 27 times so far this season – a total that nobody can argue with – and if he claimed no more goals until May people would still look back and remark on what was a fruitful opening campaign at Old Trafford; and yet, it feels as if Zlatan’s continued inability to regularly convert chances is hampering United’s progression more than anything else.
In other words, the 35-year-old has been the side’s biggest galvanising force and, at times, biggest detriment under Mourinho, and the draw with Everton serves as a potent example of exactly this.