Zlatan Ibrahimovic has once again stressed that he would not rush his return to action for Manchester United as he continues to recover from knee ligament damage.
The big Swede, who claimed 27 goals for Man United last season, underwent knee surgery after damaging his cruciate ligament back in April.
Speaking to MUTV, Zlatan made it clear that he wouldn’t jeopardise the hard work of the last few months by rushing the latter stages of his recovery process.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It has been a long time, even if we are only five or six months away from the injury.
“For me it’s felt like a long time because it’s my first major injury and I know what I have gone through in these months, I know the work I have been putting in so coming closer to the [comeback] game, I don’t want to have that rush like I am by the goal line and I want to jump over the line.
“I don’t want to make these five, six months look unimportant by rushing now, I take it day by day and when I’m ready I’ll be ready. Let’s see if it’s before the new year or not – I’m following my schedule and doing exactly what I’m able to do, and I’m very excited because I’m feeling like I’m getting closer and closer.
“So the aim is, like I said, to finish what I started. Just for me to come back and have the smell of the grass, feel the heat, feel the atmosphere, that for me will be the trigger point where I will switch on and be the lion that I am.”
United have displayed moments of brilliance this season, as well as the occasional flaw, and as November approaches we are quite naturally starting to achieve a clearer complexion of the minutiae of this Mourinho team: their habits, their physiology, their preferred style, their leaders and liabilities.
But it will not feel fully complete until Zlatan, the man of last season, graces the Old Trafford turf once again. And this is a huge advantage for Mourinho: not many top sides will make significant purchases over January, if any, and managers will have to work with what currently lies at their disposal until May.
Mourinho, however, has a truly special ace lying up his sleeve that could prove pivotal.