The Swede miraculously returned to action seven months after suffering severe damage to his knee ligaments against Newcastle United.
But he has failed to assert himself since his comeback, making just two starts and, despite his goal against Bristol City, notably failing to have an impact on games.
And Mourinho has confirmed that the striker will be out for another month – at least, you suspect – after problems with the same knee operated on back in April re-emerged.
Jose has bad news on Zlatan, who is out for a month: "The same. A massive problem. He is a 37-year-old with a bad knee.”
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) December 30, 2017
You just felt that something wasn’t quite right, didn’t you? A 23-year-old in his prime would struggle to recover from an ACL injury in seven months, and Zlatan’s return within that timeframe at the age of 36 – not 37, Jose – now appears foolhardy rather than the behaviour of *sigh* a lion.
His movement and manipulation of the ball in the games he did play lacked the inner spine that hallmarked his first season at Old Trafford, and you just felt he wasn’t the same presence on the pitch.
When he went under the knife in late April, I personally expected him to return no later than mid-January. And in hindsight he probably should have done.