Rio Ferdinand believes Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be key to pushing Manchester United to the Premier League this season. The 35-year-old rejoined the club earlier last week after he put pen-to-paper on a new one-year contract.
Ibrahimovic enjoyed a top debut campaign with the Red Devils last term as his 28 goals in 46 outings helped United make progress across all competitions. The big Swede netted the winner in United’s Community Shield and EFL Cup triumphs but could not do so in the Europa League after he sustained a nasty knee damage in the quarter-final against Anderlecht.
Speaking on BT Sport h/t The Express, Ferdinand claimed that Ibrahimovic could prove a big player in the second half of the campaign where strikers often find themselves fatigued by the constant run of games. The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial have not won any league titles between them, and Ferdinand feels Ibrahimovic could provide the cutting edge in key situations.
He said: “He came here, many people doubted him, me being one of them whether he could do it here at this age. He did in terms of goals but I think more importantly he’ll be important for the (Marcus) Rashfords, the (Anthony) Martials, the (Romelu) Lukakus. They haven’t got a title between them. He’s got more than anyone in this squad and I think moments in January, February, when they’re sticky periods in the season and people are getting tired you’ve got someone like this to come in, to really come into big situations and take control, be calm enough, understand the situation and guide these young players through.”
The Red Devils have not looked like competing for the Premier League title since the 2012/13 triumph under Sir Alex Ferguson, but Mourinho has instilled confidence into the players, who are determined to end the recent drought. Manchester United head into the international break at the top of the standings – the only club to have won the opening three games of the new league season.