Ibrahimovic signed a one-year contract extension this week and will return to action after he overcomes his ligament injury which, by the sounds of it, will be much earlier than January which was initially expected to be his return date.
Speaking ahead of the Leicester City game when asked about Ibrahimovic’s return, Jose said: “I don’t want to think about it.
“I just think he will be an extra man for us in the second part of the season. But I have no idea at all and I think the right way is not even to think about it, to speak about it and just let him do his work, step by step and come back when he’s really ready.”
When further questioned on Ibrahimovic’s return date, Jose added: “He will not be ready for the group phase of the Champions League. I don’t think there is any chance of that. Do we have space in the Champions League list to have him? Yes, so we don’t need to leave any player outside of the list but I’m not thinking Zlatan to play any part of the group phase hopefully he can play in the knockout phase but for that we need to finish top too.”
Given we were thinking Ibrahimovic had no chance of playing for United again until January, the fact we’re even having a conversation about him and the group stages is incredible but that’s how well his recovery is going.
Zlatan might not play a part in it but Jose wants him in and around the squad, hence why he’s still being included despite not having a chance of playing. That shows how much Mourinho thinks of him the Swedish striker.
United not only signed Ibrahimovic for free once but twice and whether or not he is going to play much for United this season, simply having him in the dressing room is a major plus for United this season.