Jose Mourinho has told MUTV that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is now training with Manchester United’s first team again, as he nears a return to competitive football.
Ahead of the Reds visit to Newcastle on Sunday, United’s manager had a briefing with the press; and here is the recap.
ON LUKE SHAW
Luke is not about changing my mind, it’s just the evolution or no evolution of his potential.
It’s just about that. I know Shaw since he arrived in the Premier League with Southampton and know his potential and quality.
Could he come in my direction, the way I like my players to be not just on the pitch but during the training week, and he made a big effort.
He’s been free of minor injuries for a few months which sometimes stops the evolution and I’m really happy. The natural consequence of it is that he will have his contract and he will be a United player for years.
ON PAUL POGBA
Paul had a very professional behaviour. The week was not different to what Paul is every week. He works well, he’s a good professional He likes to train. I’ve never had a single problem with him. He likes to train.
I had a few laughs over the past week because I heard and watched, read a few things, and I’m not English but I think I understand English enough when you want to say box to box.
But with some comments from some important people in football, I got a little confused. For me box to box means box to box. You have to be good in this box and have to be good in that box.
It means you have to defend well in this box, the physical condition and desire and stamina to go until the other box. In the other box you have to be good at scoring, creating, heading and so on.
And when your team loses the ball you have to go to the other box. Now I’m confused when some people say box to box has to play free of defensive duties. That’s not a box to box.
That’s a box in the box and stay in that box. Don’t move from that box! I think this country produced a lot of box to box players. I had the pleasure to coach some of them, but nowadays with some pundits, some agents, some family members, the concept of box to box is changing a little bit.
It looks like we are going to a different concept. Box to box are not my words. I heard it for the first time in 2004 when I arrived. For me, with my Portuguese and trying to translate to the English I just think midfield players.
For me Paul is a midfield player. He’s not a left back, he’s not a striker. When people ask his best position: he’s a midfield player. It depends on the tactical system but he will always be a midfielder.
Then with so many opinions, and we are in a world of opinions, people can get confused. There is no confusion between me and Paul. It’s difficult to play a midfielder with more potential than Paul.
“The squad is good, everything is fine. Eric Bailly and Daley Blind are the two players that are out [in addition to Fellaini].
Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] started training with the team two days ago, so two days with the group and he is improving. We are fine.”
NEVER WON AT ST. JAMES’ PARK
“I don’t know! I like the feeling of going to Mr [Sir Bobby] Robson’s home, I like the Geordies and the stadium but I have lost and drawn a few times there. I hope the result on Sunday is different.” But [Rafael] Benitez knows how to get points, so I think it’s going to be difficult.”