The Swede, who joined on a free transfer back in July, has netted six goals in 12 appearances for Man United.
His performance against Liverpool, however, was heavily criticised after the 34-year-old spurned several opportunities and struggled to enmesh himself in the fabric of the game.
But despite this, Mourinho, speaking ahead of United’s Europa League game with Fenerbahce on Thursday night, was full of praise for the striker.
“He is giving us exactly what we need and expected from him,” Jose said.
“It’s quite beautiful for me to meet him five or six years later and to find the same ambition, passion and desire to play and compete. He’s really fit and always ready to play.”
Even the best players have a bad day at the office, and such was the case with Zlatan against Liverpool. He struggled in the air, lost the ball, failed to make any enterprising runs in behind and wasted a golden opportunity after some good work from Paul Pogba.
But even amid these inadequacies, the Swede still offered a valuable dynamic of leadership. He was – and always is – a leader without the armband, gesticulating furiously towards players, booming out orders and messages of encouragement. To maintain the same levels of enthusiasm, passion and energy when encountering a poor personal performance is the hallmark of true great.
United fans will hope to see Zlatan rectify his uncharacteristically substandard performance against Feyenoord on Thursday night.