Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has lauded veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic decision to ‘fight’ after suffering a career-threatening knee injury, according to a statement on the club website.
Ibrahimovic and defender Marcos Rojo are facing lengthy spells on the sidelines after sustaining knee ligament damage in United’s Europa League quarter-final win over Anderlecht.
The Red Devils' top scorer subsequently used his Instagram account on Monday to defiantly declare: "Giving up is not an option."
Asked about the 35-year-old at his press conference on Wednesday, Mourinho admitted: "The future is a big surgery and a long period of recovering. But the future is also in the hands of a very strong guy, mentally very strong, who wrote immediately on social media that he will stop playing when he wants, not when people think.”
"It looks for me that he’s not going to give up and he’s going to fight. I’m really pleased with that because this is the Zlatan I know. He fought all his life and that’s what I told him – 'you have fought all your life since you were born.' I don’t see a reason not to fight.”
Commenting on the Swede's road to recovery, Mourinho added:
"We think he is in fabulous hands and he needs to recover from the injury and prepare himself mentally for the next step. I think the next step will always be something that he really wants, which is something I was saying before the injury in the period of doubt about his future; I have always said that.”
"He is much more important than myself and what I want, it’s what he wants. I always want the players to be happy and to choose their future, and this is what I think is going to happen. Now, before such an important surgery, I think it’s a waste of time to speak about what’s next," Mourinho added.
(All quotes are from www.manutd.com)