Monday 24 October 2016

Ibra' excited by Jose plan

Striker insists 'something big' happening with United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is pictured during his Manchester United debut against Galatasaray on Saturday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is pictured during his Manchester United debut against Galatasaray on Saturday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes "something big" is happening at Manchester United and feels it will become even more interesting if they sign Paul Pogba.

The Red Devils have been chasing the signature of their former academy graduate for some time but negotiations with Juventus over a potentially record-breaking deal are taking their time.

However, Ibrahimovic, who moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer this summer after leaving Paris St Germain, is already looking forward to the arrival of the France international.

"We have something big going on," he said after United's 5-2 friendly victory over Galatasaray in Gothenburg on Saturday, in which Ibrahimovic scored after just 195 seconds on his first appearance for the club.

"It looks very interesting. Let's see if Pogba will also (come), then it will be even more interesting."

The 34-year-old Swede wasted no time in making his presence felt, flinging himself into the air to meet Antonio Valencia's cross after just four minutes of his debut at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg.

He did not get the cleanest contact on the ball but his scissors kick bounced past Fernando Muslera in Galatasaray's goal and sent thousands of Swedish fans into raptures.

Wayne Rooney netted twice and Valencia recorded three assists against the rudderless Turkish outfit.

The likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Adnan Januzaj were not included in the travelling party to Sweden and are set to be the first casualties of manager Jose Mourinho's clear-out.

Of the players who did travel, Mourinho gave most of them a chance to impress with the Portuguese making 11 changes in the second half against Galatasaray.

Asked if the players who came on showed they want to be in his plans, Mourinho said: "If they were not in my plans I would not give them one single minute, I would not keep them in my squad.

"The squad is very competitive, the squad is very important for the season.

"We have 38 matches in the Premier League, we have the possibility of 15 matches in the Europa League, plus domestic cups, we are going to play 60 matches. So with 60 matches we cannot do it with 11 players.


"So to be in the squad you have to understand that the squad is more important than the individual, the club is more important than all of us, and to be in the squad you have to be ready for this, to play, not to play, play a lot, play less, play 90 minutes, play one minute, not be selected, everything is part of a squad life."

Mourinho admits his players are behind schedule in their preparations after their friendly against Manchester City in Beijing was called off because of an unfit pitch.

"We lost a week in China and some of the boys that played today had trained two days," he added.

"There's not a lot of time to work, to change, to make a couple of new ideas and new principles of play, everything is step by step and the reality is we don't have this time.

"We have a game against Leicester next week (Community Shield) and we have the Premier League in a couple of weeks.

"We need time and we don't have time, the only solution is to train hard and train hard against opposition like today."

Meanwhile, striker Marcus Rashford expects to learn a lot from Ibrahimovic even if the Swede's arrival at United might limit his first-team opportunities.

Rashford burst onto the scene last season, with the 18-year-old emerging from the youth ranks to earn a place in the first XI and an unexpected trip to Euro 2016.

But Mourinho has strengthened his hand with the signing of Ibrahimovic.

Time will tell how that works out, and the teenager believes simply sharing a dressing room with someone of Ibrahimovic's stature will help him advance.

"We can definitely all learn from him while he is here, so we all need to take that chance," Rashford said.

"It's a massive help to be with him every day and it's great to see what he is like on and off the pitch. There is a lot to learn from him and hopefully I can bring some of his game into mine."


Rashford's rise might have come at a dizzying pace earlier this year, but he is happy to slow things down again as he looks to establish himself in the Old Trafford set-up.

"I'm preparing for the new season now," he said. "There's no need to rush into anything - I'm taking my time, taking it steady." Mourinho has spoken of his concern at United's readiness for the new season, due to the number of players given extended breaks following Euro 2016 and the unsatisfactory nature of their tour to China, where a match against Manchester City was cancelled due to poor conditions.

But Rashford is looking ahead with excitement after a full-strength United side - in terms of personnel if not fitness - came from 2-1 down to see off their Turkish opponents.

"It's really important to get that first win together as a group, it's great for us in the build-up to the season," Rashford said.

"The manager wasn't concerned (about being 2-1 behind at half-time) and just told us to push and close the space, something we did really well in the second half.

"There's a lot of optimism, as that is only our second pre-season game as a full squad - it was the first game for some players.

"It is very exciting for both fans and players."

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