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Dublin: 14 °C Saturday 21 September, 2019

'He'll be here again': Mourinho expects red-hot Zlatan to sign United extension

The 35-year-old signed a one-year contract in the summer with the option for a second.

JOSE MOURINHO EXPECTS Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract extension at Manchester United to be finalised soon.

The 35-year-old striker continued his exceptional recent form with a goal – his 50th at club level in 2016 – and two assists on Monday as United defeated David Moyes’ Sunderland 3-1 at Old Trafford.

Mourinho confirmed last month that he was keen to take up the option to extend the Swede’s one-season deal by a further year and he foresees no problem in ironing out the details.

Asked if the agreement to extend his stay had been activated, Mourinho added: “Not yet, but it’s activated in his brain and in my decisions and also in the owners and the board. So no problem.

“I’m not really surprised [by his form] because he’s a very intelligent guy, a very proud man. For him to decide to come to Manchester United, the Premier League, the most difficult league in the world for a striker – it’s because he knows he can do it.

“When we contacted him and he said yes, I was sure he was not coming here to leave the Premier League without proof, to leave failing at Manchester United – no way.

So when such a guy decided to come, I was completely clear that he would be ready and he’s ready for more next season. He’ll be here again.”

United took the lead against Sunderland through Daley Blind’s first-half effort, but they did not make certain of the points until the final eight minutes, when Ibrahimovic scored before setting up a stunning effort from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

“I didn’t like the first-half performance,” admitted Mourinho. ”I like the result. I liked very much the second half. The first half I didn’t like. I was expecting us to start much better.

“I know David and Sunderland deserved credit for what they did in the first half, but that’s their performance.

Britain Soccer Community Shield Source: Tim Ireland

“Second half, we had everything back: intensity, recovering the ball high on the pitch, playing fast passes, good creativity.

“And to have players like Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the bench helps because they came into the game when they [Sunderland] are a bit tired. We deserve the victory.

“We have played well for a long time. I think our game against Burnley was absolutely phenomenal. We played better against Burnley than today. The good performances we had for quite some time. Finally we have the good results, four victories and 12 points in a row. They are comfortable but we need to improve.”

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