Zlatan Ibrahimovic has insisted that Manchester United have approached a decisive moment of the season following their 3-0 win over Saint Etienne in the Europa League.
The Swede powered home a deflected free-kick after 15 minutes to put Jose Mourinho’s men ahead before adding two more in the second half to seal his first ever Man United hat-trick.
United continued to fight on all fronts this season, with the second leg against ASSE, a fifth round FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers and a League Cup final all lying in wait over the next few weeks.
And Zlatan, speaking after the win over Christophe Galtier’s side, was quick to note that United are now entering a crucial stage of the campaign.
“We created good chances,” he said. “It was important to get a good win at home and we bring it with us in the second leg. It was a good game but I think we can do better.
“Every time I’ve played against Saint-Etienne, with hard work there has been a couple of goals. I’ve scored a couple of goals tonight and hopefully I can do the same next week.
“We’re winning but in a short time everything can change. It’s important to keep getting the wins we need. Everything can change but we’re happy at the moment.
“This is the decisive moment for the season. We are still in all four competitions. The fifth we already won [the Community Shield].”
Think about this time last year; think about how dreary everything felt under Louis van Gaal. United were, funnily enough, still in the FA Cup, the Europa League and not far off the Champions League spots, but none of that seemed to matter. Going to Old Trafford started to feel like a chore.
This time around, however, Old Trafford is brimming with enthusiasm: just four points from second spot, still going strong in both the Europa League and FA Cup, blessed with a chance to claim the League Cup. We have reached a point where United’s season could either completely fall apart in the space of a month, or skyrocket towards a mesmerising climax.
Either way, football under Mourinho is fun, and for that United fans should be grateful.