The Swede, who has 26 goals so far this season, has missed the last three domestic games for Man United through suspension.
He will return to action in time for United’s clash with Everton in the Premier League on Tuesday night, and supporters will be desperate to see the 35-year-old restore some much-needed potency in front of goal for Mourinho’s men.
But the Portuguese, when asked whether the Swede would have made a difference against the Baggies, responded: “I don’t know.”
“We had matches here with Zlatan that we drew. He lost a penalty in the game 1-1 [against Bournemouth], he lost chances like other people did too, so I cannot say now that if Zlatan and Mata played on Saturday we win the game, I cannot say that.”
Mourinho is correctly implying that the reason behind United’s malaise in front of goal at home to lesser sides is not grounded in any one player, nor even in the way they arrange themselves tactically.
United’s current impasse – something that will, if not addressed, preclude them from reaching the top four – is instead rooted in an overall psychological stalemate that only rears its ugly head in front of an expectant Old Trafford crowd against teams that, on paper, should be brushed to one side.
This is not an easy area to address, mainly because pin-pointing the exact reason behind why it occurs is far from simple, but make no mistake: Mourinho’s ability to solve it will indeed define his time in charge at the Theatre of Dreams.