Zlatan Ibrahimovic expects Manchester United to achieve great things this season – and to return from injury better than ever.
Written off by many upon switching Paris St Germain for Old Trafford last summer, the veteran striker silenced the doubters by netting 28 goals in his maiden campaign in English football.
Ibrahimovic scored in both the EFL Cup and Community Shield successes at Wembley, as well as playing a key role in United’s triumphant Europa League campaign – the competition in which he sustained a serious knee injury.
Five months on and the striker is making impressive progress in his recovery from knee ligament damage and, having initially been released in the summer, has been rewarded with a contract until the end of the season.
It is a campaign Ibrahimovic clearly believes can end in glory.
United are back in the Champions League and entered the weekend top of the Premier League, with the 35-year-old well aware of the fact Jose Mourinho has won the title in his second season during all five reigns of major clubs.
“I think we can achieve great things,” said Ibrahimovic, whose team-mates host Everton on Sunday. “We have to remember the second year of Jose Mourinho is always the best one.
“This year will be very exciting and with these new players the team is stronger, and I expect us to do great things. I’m just waiting for the moment to get back to the team and to play with them and enjoy the moments.”
A return before Christmas is on the cards for the former Sweden striker, who could reportedly even be back as early as November.
Ibrahimovic has downplayed his knee ligament injury as a “little break for a small injury”, although patience and positivity have been key during rehabilitation.
“I feel good,” Ibrahimovic said in a wide-ranging interview with Inside United. “I have trained every day since I had my knee operated on, there is no vacation.
“It’s a new challenge but I am strong mentally and when I focus on an objective nothing can stop me. I will go through everything, it doesn’t matter what’s in my way, I will break everything to reach my goal.
“When I come back to play football on the field I will be better than before, I am not coming back because I am the one I am, I am coming back to be a better version of the old one. Imagine how that will be!
“If we talk specifically about the injury then I have never felt any pain, the only thing I have felt is a strange feeling in my movement that obviously showed something was wrong in the knee. Now we’re building it up and it’s getting stronger.
“I feel good and I feel my movements are there. If it was up to me I would like to play football today but it doesn’t work like that. I need to have patience and that’s the way we work. We are in no rush, when we are ready we will be ready.
“When I am playing again I don’t want any excuses that I was injured, or ‘he just came back, this is his first game’. No – I want to feel the same pressure I had before because everything happened. I am looking forward to that moment.”