ZLATAN ON UNITED AND MOURINHO
Zlatan Ibrahimovic on life at United, Pogba and this weekend’s big derby
With four goals in four games since joining Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made an instant impression at Old Trafford and in English football.
Along with the appointment of Jose Mourinho, the Swedish striker has helped lead United to three wins from three in the Premier League.
Up next for United is Saturday’s Manchester derby against rivals City, who also have a 100 per cent record.
We spoke to Zlatan about the big clash, how he has settled in England, his respect for Mourinho and what he thinks about world-record signing Paul Pogba.
You have had a great start to your Manchester United career – how have you settled in at Old Trafford? What about the reception from fans and players?
I have said already that I have played in many leagues in many countries, but the Manchester fans have eclipsed anything I have ever known. Every game this season they have been the 12th man on the field for us, and if we are going to have a successful season – they will play a big part.
You were touted with a move to the Premier League many times during your career – how have found the league’s pace and physicality?
At many times I had the opportunity to play in the Premier League, but this was the right time. I know I still have much to offer, and the style is different – but I have always been able to adapt.
United have had a busy summer with Jose Mourinho’s appointment and big transfers – how big a signing was Paul Pogba for the club and what does he bring to the team on and off the pitch?
I am sure he just wanted to follow me! I am just kidding, he is funny guy and a good friend off the field, and on it you can see how special he is. He is a big player, and I know under Mourinho he can become complete.
How is it working with Mourinho second time around after your spell together at Inter Milan?
Mourinho is a mastermind. I do not have many regrets, but I did regret that I did not get to play under Mourinho for longer. When the opportunity came again for him to be my coach at Manchester United – it was an easy decision. He knows everything about the game, who would not want to be coached by him?
It’s the Manchester derby against City this weekend – how has it been in the run-up compared with previous derbies you have played?
These games always mean so much to the fans and we want to win for them, but the players must always be focused. Every game must be looked at as an opportunity to win three points, that is always the goal whoever the opposition.
Both United and City have had strong starts with three wins from three – how crucial is the derby result in terms of the season and title race overall?
The main thing is we are focused on ourselves. It is a long season, but we have started well. We have the ambition to win the title, and it will be important that we try and take points of the teams that will be challenging.
City striker Sergio Aguero will miss the derby because of suspension – will that give United confidence that he is missing or do you think City will pose an even bigger danger?
All of our focus is on ourselves and our own preparation, it doesn’t matter what anybody else does.
You know when you play the teams at the top that any team they put out
is going to be a dangerous team, you can’t just concentrate on single players.
How long can Zlatan be at the top? There were stories recently about a potential move into coaching. Is this something you would like in your future?
In the future who knows what is possible, but for now I am enjoying playing.
I am at a great club, with a great coach, and with great fans – and I want to be as successful for them as possible.
“I still have much to offer, and the style is different – but I have always been able to adapt.” – ZLATAN ON PLAYING IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
“He is a big player, and I know under Mourinho he can become complete.” – ZLATAN ON PAUL POGBA
“I have played in many countries, but the Manchester fans have eclipsed anything I have ever known..” – ZLATAN ON THE MANCHESTER UNITED SUPPORTERS