Friday 13 January 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Says He Conquered England In Just Three Months

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has claimed it has taken him just three months to “conquer” English football as the Manchester United striker warned Chelsea his side will be ready to pounce on any slip ups from the Premier League leaders during the title run-in.

United go in search of a seventh successive league win – and 10th in all competitions – when Liverpool visit Old Trafford on Sunday, when victory would move Jose Mourinho’s team to within two points of their bitter Merseyside rivals.

Ibrahimovic missed Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Hull City in the EFL Cup through illness but is expected to have recovered in time to lead the line against Liverpool when he will be looking to add to his tally of 12 goals in as many games and 18 all told this term.

Despite being 35, the Swedish striker has played in every minute of United’s league matches, apart from the 1-1 draw against Arsenal which he missed through suspension, and is only one goal behind Chelsea striker, Diego Costa, the league’s leading scorer this season.

But Ibrahimovic said he had already demonstrated his prowess and was less bothered about hunting down Costa than catching Chelsea, convinced that United will be much stronger during the second half of the campaign after establishing a clear, attacking identity under Mourinho. United currently trail Chelsea by 10 points.

“No, I’m not chasing anybody,” Ibrahimovic said when asked about Costa. “I’m chasing the head trophy – the Premier League. That is my aim. The individual things come as part of the main objective because that is like a bonus for every individual player.

“If the collective does well, then the individuals will do well. I have no individual targets because that I did already. After three months I conquered England. It took three months.

“We had our dips, our ups and downs when we were winning, losing, winning and losing. Lately, we have been more stabilised as a team. The coach has found his base, which is not easy when you’re a new coach coming to a new team and want to put in your philosophy.

“I said from the beginning – slowly we will get better and everything was about the click. We needed to click as a team - now you the see the identity of the team. We are finding each other but I think we can do much more and be much better. And we will do it – we are working hard for it.

“The last 1½ months have shown the right way. The gap [at the top] has been bigger but now it’s better. So we are closer to that now. We wait for the other teams to have their dips, to make their mistakes, and we will be there. We will give them hard work until then. I know what we want. We want to show it.”

United, meanwhile, have rejected a bid from Lyons for Memphis Depay, with the French club also interested in another winger at Old Trafford, Adnan Januzaj. Depay has asked to leave United and the club are prepared to sell but want around £20 million for the player.

Januzaj, who is currently on loan at Sunderland, is still waiting to discover United’s intentions around his long-term future amid interest from Lyons and other French clubs. Januzaj’s contract at Old Trafford runs until the end of next season and United are not in a rush to decide his future.

“The ultimate decision is for Manchester United and we have not yet heard from them that they want to sell Adnan,” Dirk De Vriese, the player’s agent, said.



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