The former Premier League striker
acknowledges that the Swede will need a
rest at some stage, but admits the Red
Devils cannot afford to leave him out
Manchester United must continue to
manage Zlatan Ibrahimovic carefully as
they ‘need him in that team’, says Tony
The Red Devils pulled off quite the coup in
luring the Swedish striker to Old Trafford
over the summer, with the presence of
Jose Mourinho in the dugout aiding their
Mourinho: Ibra extension almost done
Despite now being 35 years of age,
Ibrahimovic has made the desired impact
in English football.
Confidence has never been an issue for the
former Juventus and Barcelona forward
and he has embraced the challenges
presented to him by the Premier League.
He has already made 26 appearances in all
competitions and offered a healthy return
of 17 goals.
Of those, 11 have been plundered in his
last 13 appearances, with the perfect
response offered to a rare barren spell in
Ibrahimovic is once again a talisman and
a vital cog in a United machine setting its
sights on the top four and beyond.
Cottee admits he is a unique presence in
Mourinho’s squad and one that the Red
Devils cannot afford to be without in the
games that really matter.
Zlatan just one goal off Messi for 2016
He told Sky Sports : “I don’t see why he
can’t keep playing. There will be occasions
– the FA Cup springs to mind – when they
will want to give him a rest, but they need
him in that team.
“Although you have got other good players
to play up front, they don’t do what Zlatan
Ibrahimovic’s latest goal, and match-
altering contribution, came against
Sunderland on Boxing Day as United
recorded a 3-1 victory on home soil.
Cottee was impressed by another virtuoso
display, with there only minor faults to be
found in his game.
He added: “The one slight criticism of him
is that he was wandering around a bit too
Ibra & Pogba the PL’s best partnership?
“It’s alright going out to left wing, but if
you get the ball in the box then you need
him in there. But I’m being harsh on him
because he had another outstanding
Ibrahimovic took his 2016 tally of goals in
club competition to 50 by finding the
target against the Black Cats and will get
one more opportunity to add to that return
on New Year’s Eve when United welcome
Middlesbrough to Old Trafford.