Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s immediate influence against AFC Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the Premier League.
Manchester United sent out a big statement of intent to their competitors with an emphatic 3-1 win over Eddie Howe’s side.
On his Premier League debut, Ibrahimovic was a force of nature; after a muted first half, the Swede exploded into life in the second-half with several wonderful pieces of link up play, topped off by an explosive finish into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho was full of admiration for the 34-year-old.
“Eric Cantona was here at the best moment in his career. This guy (Ibrahimovic) is more than a player,” Mourinho said.
“For the next two seasons I think he can be phenomenal for the team and the Premier League.
“It’s incredible how Zlatan has never won the Golden Ball, but he wants to win the Premier League, not the Golden Ball.”
Zlatan’s presence in this Man United side is already having its desired effect. As Ibrahimovic added the visitors’ third, there was an unmistakeable swagger that seemed to emanate from the big Swede and course through the entire team.
And while his goal, an inch perfect pile-driver into the bottom corner from 25 yards out, will make all the headlines, it is worth remembering the 34-year-old’s overall game – especially in the second half – was hugely impressive: a mixture of some smart positioning and outstanding flicks to find teammates ensured that the Bournemouth defence didn’t receive a moment’s peace.
Now United fans turn their attention to August 19, where Zlatan will be met with a wall of noise and excitement as he makes his Old Trafford bow.