12/01/2018 17:30, Report by Mark Froggatt
Jose Mourinho has provided an update on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, revealing the Manchester United striker is expected to return to training at the end of January or beginning of February.
The 36-year-old striker suffered a serious knee injury in April 2016 and impressively returned in November, making a handful of appearances before requiring another spell on the sidelines.
Speaking during a press conference at the Aon Training Complex on Friday, Mourinho said: “Zlatan is injured, or is not totally happy with his condition. He fought like a tiger, like he likes to say, to be back, which he did. He was starting having minutes here and there, he had a start, he had 60 minutes of one game and started another one, and had 45 [minutes], and he was not happy with his feelings.
“He consulted other doctors and other opinions, and we all made the decision to stop treatment. When he’s feeling really good, he can come back to work. The date for him to be back to training with the team was around the end of January or beginning of February, so let’s hope his feelings are better and we have him as soon as possible.”
WILL VALENCIA OR CARRICK FACE STOKE?
United are currently preparing to face Stoke City at Old Trafford on Monday night at Old Trafford, fresh from the warm-weather training camp in Dubai. Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick were both pictured training all week in the Middle East, but it remains to be seen if they are available.
Valencia has been missing with a problem that he sustained during the victory over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on 17 December. Ashley Young had been starting in his absence before receiving a three-ban for an off-the-ball incident against Southampton, for which he has one game left to serve.
Carrick has not played since the Carabao Cup tie against Burton Albion back in September and, in a statement released on 24 November, the 36-year-old midfielder revealed he had suffered from an irregular heart rhythm that required a procedure called a cardiac ablation.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly is still injured and is definitely unavailable to face Stoke but could be back around the end of the month.
DUBAI WAS A HUGE SUCCESS
Speaking about the trip and three days of solid training, Mourinho told reporters: “It was very good. The facilities were unbelievable. The prince’s private facilities are better than any football club in the world. Unbelievable conditions to work, nice weather, three days of really, really good training. We developed things – people can think it’s good to rest, but not really.
“We developed things that we cannot develop when we have no time to train together. So hopefully we can improve our level because I really think it was good. We are all happy, we are lucky to play on Monday, which gave us this extra day to get back and, tomorrow, we are here again.”