Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was full of praise for Zlatan Ibrahimovic highlighting the Swede's commitment to the club as he spoke of an incident when Zlatan selflessly canceled his holidays to play for the Red Devils.
Mourinho had earlier said that he would tailor the 35-year-old’s training regimen so that he does not overwork himself and can be fit and fresh for the matchdays. When asked whether Ibrahimovic, who was pictured training at the gym last week during the international break, was a leader, the two-time Champions League winning manager had nothing but good words to say about the Swede.
Jose said, “I don't know whether leader is the right word or not but I know he is an example for sure. He is fantastic.”
He then recalled an incident from last month where Ibrahimovic sacrificed his time-off to travel to Northampton in an EFL Cup tie after United had lost against Watford in the weekend and was ready to forfeit the time off which was afforded to him.
“There was one episode that I can tell you where he was supposed not to play against Northampton,” said Mourinho.
“But because the match before that we lost he came to me and told me that he didn't want his three days off that I was supposed to give him. He said I want to go to that match because maybe the team needs me,” Mourinho added.
The Swede sensation came on as a second-half substitute as the Red Devils won the tie 3-1.
Hard work is the key
However, the Portuguese manager maintains that it is not his act of sacrificing his holidays or his reputation, but his hard work that earns him a place in the starting lineup every week.
“He plays because he is an important player in my team and because he plays really well. That is why he plays it is not because of his record or his experience,” said the Portuguese.
Ibrahimovic stressed recently on the importance of hard work which is needed to be successful on the football pitch. The deadly marksman, who has spent several years at the top level, said, “I believe in hard work. You work hard, you get paid back. You don’t work hard, you don’t get anything back.”
Zlatan also revealed how it was just a phone call from Jose Mourinho which convinced him to come to Manchester United this summer even though he had an opportunity last year when Louis Van Gaal was at the helm.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was signed this summer by the Portuguese manager after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain ran out, had a hugely satisfying partnership with Jose during his time at Inter Milan in the 2008-09 season before he was transferred to Barcelona for a massive fee. Zlatan has always maintained that Jose is one of the best coaches in the world and had expressed his desire to reunite with his former manager.
Now that they are together again, fireworks are again expected at Old Trafford. However, Zlatan’s immediate aim will be to pick up a win when United travel to Anfield later today to face Jurgen Klopp’s revitalised Liverpool side.
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