Manchester United fans were left dissatisfied by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s performance during their side’s second leg 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final.
The big Swede, reintroduced to the starting XI after being rested against Chelsea, failed to offer much in the form of end product up front on a night that demanded his usual grandeur in front of goal.
He was forced off on the stroke of full-time after falling awkwardly on his knee, paving the way for Anthony Martial to come on for extra time.
Man United fans were quick to dish out criticism for the 35-year-old following what was a stilted performance.
Zlatan Ibrahimović has had an almighty shocker tonight. Wasted so many chances.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) April 20, 2017
Horrible injury for Ibrahimovic but that was the only way he was coming off. Had a shocker. Martial chant aired by Stretford End. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) April 20, 2017
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's injury symptomatic of his performance tonight. Fatigue contributing to a lack of his normal control. #MUNAND
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) April 20, 2017
Self-confidence is a great quality. But if you flaunt it in the way Zlatan does, you deserve excess criticism for performances like tonight.
— Adam Sweeney (@AdamWSweeney) April 20, 2017
Zlatan misses another key opportunity. We're showing everyone exactly why we've struggled to win games.
— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) April 20, 2017
Nobody can question that Zlatan, perhaps more than anyone else, has had a storming influence at Old Trafford this season. 28 goals, along with a complete shift in mentality within the side in light of his presence, makes for admirable reading.
But there is something about the Swede’s presence that can, at times, dampen United’s attacking onus, almost as if his conspicuousness creates just one obvious reference point for midfielders to pick out, rendering the entire approach relatively predictable. And such was the case throughout against Anderlecht; it could prove to be a gloomy end to his United career after he was stretchered off with what looked like a grim knee injury.