The Swede was an indefatigable influence all evening, competently holding up the ball, drawing fouls and seamlessly picking out teammates.
His big moment, however, came in the 87th minute: a clever, typical striker’s run, a perfectly weighted Paul Pogba pass, and a superb finish over Wayne Hennessey from the Swede sealed an important three points for Mourinho’s men.
The 53-year-old, speaking after the game, was quick to heap praise on Ibrahimovic’s composed, match-winning display at Selhurst Park.
“He did a phenomenal performance,” he said.
“After the goal to have the strength and spirit to go in front of the back four and defend. It was an amazing performance for a guy who is 35-years-old, scoring goals, being a leader, amazing”, he added.
“We played very, very, well. It was a big evolution. People sometimes forget about good performances and focus on results. We are still sixth so need points.”
Zlatan is far from just a match-winner; he is, above anything, Man United’s captain without the armband. The Swede leads by example, always bringing players into the game with smart passes, adding a sense of definition and purpose to the front line. He is a serial winner – a notion reinforced by his no-nonsense, slightly arrogant demeanour. Such an aura, you could tell, was infectious, and United – led by their Swedish hero – dug out a vital winner.
But his work wasn’t done there. Instead of trudging around, Zlatan placed himself at the heart of midfield, acting as a bombastic influence in a completely different – but ultimately invaluable – way