The Swede made a miraculous early return from knee ligament surgery in November but only made two starts before going off at half time during the 2-2 draw with Burnley on Boxing Day.
Mourinho later confirmed that Zlatan, now linked with a move to the MLS, would be out for a month after his knee problems had reemerged.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s visit to Newcastle United, the 55-year-old noted that Zlatan was back in training but ready to feature just yet.
Jose Mourinho tells #MUTV that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in first-team training but is not yet ready for a return to action, while Eric Bailly also remains unavailable. There are no fresh injury concerns. #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 9, 2018
Perhaps we wouldn’t have been surprised at Zlatan’s lack of impact at this point of the season if he didn’t somehow return to the pitch in November.
January 20 2018 marked nine months since the 36-year-old damaged his ACL and, by the laws of physiology, should have also marked his return to first team football. Had that been the case we would still be expecting a period of adjustment even now.
In other words, we can now claim with certainty that Zlatan, at least in the eyes of a doctor, is ‘back’ to full fitness, and supporters will just hope to see the club’s No.10 back in the swing of things sooner rather than later.