Summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels he has already conquered English football with Manchester United – and it only took him “three months”.
The Swedish marksman missed the EFL Cup win over Hull City due to illness after sitting on the bench throughout the FA Cup triumph against Reading. But Jose Mourinho expects to have him back leading the line for Sunday’s mouthwatering showdown with rivals Liverpool.
Ibrahimovic, United’s top scorer this season, is only one behind Chelsea’s Diego Costa in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot but insists it is not in his thinking as he is pursuing team glory. That said, he believes he has achieved his individual targets already by proving his class in the Premier League.
“No, I’m not chasing anybody,” he said, when asked by ManUtd.com about the prospect of chasing down 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 try to help the team and try to do what I’m best at – scoring goals, playing good and creating chances for my team-mates. As long as I can do that, I know I will help my team. The same thing with them, they help me the way they can for the team. I have no individual targets because that I did already, after three months in England. After I conquered England – it took three months.”
The striker feels United cannot be discounted from the title race as the crunch encounter with the Merseysiders approaches. Victory would leave the Reds only two points behind Jurgen Klopp’s side and the Swede has been consistent in his view that things would click eventually into gear.
“We had our dips, our ups and downs when we were winning, losing, winning and losing,” he explained. “Lately, we have been winning, where 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, your game and the way you want it to be.
“I said from the beginning – slowly, 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 one and a half 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 because I think the second half of the season is the decisive one and that will decide. Whatever you want, wherever you will come, let’s see what we want. I know what we want. We want to show it.”