Zlatan Ibrahimovic will come off the substitutes bench in Manchester United’s midweek fixture against FC Basel, Jose Mourinho has revealed.
The Swedish striker returned for Man United after being sidelined since April following serious knee ligament damage. He replaced Anthony Martial for the final stages of the game, being given a standing ovation at Old Trafford as his every touch was cheered.
But despite recovering a month ahead of schedule, Ibrahimovic is not yet ready to start a game for United.
Speaking on Tuesday ahead of the UEFA Champions League group stage match, Mourinho said, “Zlatan goes on the bench tomorrow. He needs to play and he is useful for us.
“If we are in a winning position, like we were against Newcastle, we need him on the pitch, because he keeps the ball, he keeps possession. He drops into areas where he gives stability to the team
“If the team is not winning, his presence on the pitch will be important and it will be positive for him to play with (Romelu) Lukaku.
“Normally, he is going to play, and I would say it will be a little bit more comfortable for him to play a bit more than he did the last match. But [he is in] no condition to start.”
It seems sensible, and fairly obvious. Players who come from ligament damage take some time to get back into the swing of things. Perhaps Ibrahimovic will need a couple more games after this, too, to be back in action properly.
With tough Premier League games against Arsenal and against title favourites Manchester City coming up, haing Ibrahimovic as a possibility is fantastic for Mourinho and United.