Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has defended Zlatan Ibrahimovic despite his recent lack of goals.
Mourinho was very critical of United’s attitude as they lost 2-1 to Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday.
But he has indicated he will keep faith with striker Ibrahimovic, who has scored just one goal in 11 games.
“In every Premier League match, even when not scoring goals, he’s being fantastic and his attitude is always brilliant,” said Mourinho.
United have won two of their last seven matches and have taken three points from their last four Premier League games.
Mourinho’s record of nine wins in his first 17 games in charge is equal to that of predecessor Louis van Gaal. However, it is one victory fewer than David Moyes managed at the start of his nine-month reign in 2013-14 and the tally that Van Gaal achieved at the beginning of his second season, 2015-16.
The Portuguese, who signed a three-year contract in May, faces a number of difficulties, including a squad that lacks balance, specifically in central defence, with Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly injured.
Against Fenerbahce, Mourinho picked Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo in central defence.
Both are left-footed and both have more experience at left-back, even if they have been used in the centre at various times in their United careers.
He said: “I cannot be critical of the boys because they do what they can.
“But you never saw a Jose Mourinho team play with two left-backs as central defenders.”
Midfielder Michael Carrick is set to earn a recall for Sunday’s trip to Swansea, when Mourinho will serve a one-match touchline ban.
Paul Pogba, United’s world record £89m signing from Juventus, is a doubt with the dead leg that resulted in him being substituted during the first half of Thursday’s game.
However, even if Pogba fails to recover, there will be no recall for Bastian Schweinsteiger, who began training with the first-team again on Monday after Mourinho ended the German World Cup winner’s first-team exile.
“It’s too early for him,” said the United manager.
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