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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Mourinho rules out Man United return for Ibrahimovic

Romelu Lukaku’s lean spell in front of goal will not persuade the manager to look elsewhere.

LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE no interest in bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to Old Trafford during the MLS off-season, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

Ibrahimovic joined United on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in 2016 and scored 28 goals in all competitions that season.

However, the former Sweden star suffered a cruciate ligament injury before the end of the campaign and, after battling back to first-team action by the end of 2017, he moved Stateside to LA Galaxy.

In 26 league games for the Los Angeles side, the 37-year-old has struck 22 times, while United’s first-choice striker Romelu Lukaku is in the midst of a much-discussed lean spell.

Nevertheless, Mourinho is not interested in offering Ibrahimovic a route back into European football as mid-season cover.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Everton, the United boss was asked about the possibility and simply replied: “No.”

Mourinho went on to underline his confidence that Lukaku’s lean spell of eight games without a goal in club colours will soon come to an end.

“I always feel the [next] game is the game [he will score],” he said. “I feel that every game.

“One day he will score and one day his confidence levels will be back to normal, which clearly they are not. I always feel that every game is the game.”

An injury list that includes Chile forward Alexis Sanchez means Mourinho feels he is unable to take Lukaku out of the firing line at present.

“Against Juventus, to give him a break, I don’t think [first-team coach Michael] Carrick can play as a striker.

“Or [if] we play with the players that we did or we decide to give a rest to Lukaku, then [Marcus] Rashford plays as a striker, who plays as a winger?

“At this moment we are not in the best situation to think about resting players or trying to find solutions. The solution now is to play the players we have.”

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