Jose Mourinho has insisted that it “doesn’t matter” if Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores or not after he tore apart Swansea City in Sunday’s 3-1 win.
The veteran Swede, 35, scored a double after Paul Pogba had opened the scoring for Manchester United, leaving Mike van der Hoorn’s second-half goal to be just a consolation.
Ibrahimovic’s goals ended a run of six matches without a goal for the United forward and took him to 400 in his club career, though Mourinho played down his team’s dependence on the forward.
“He’s a great player for the team,” Mourinho, who served his one-match touchline ban in the stands, told MUTV. “OK today he scored goals, he didn’t in the past few matches, but that doesn’t matter at all.
“One thing is a striker who doesn’t score goals and doesn’t do anything else. Another thing is a striker that doesn’t score goals but does everything else. During this period where he was not scoring goals he did everything else for the team. So I’m very happy that he’s back to scoring.”
Injuries to Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw left Mourinho short of options at the back, while Daley Blind was only fit enough for the bench.
United played with a back four of Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo in south Wales, only conceding once the three points were all but secured.
“I’m really pleased,” Mourinho added. “I think for all of us from the United side it was a calm day. I think since the first minute we felt that we were in the game, that we were stable and that we were in control.
“The players were really good in their focus, in their effort, in their concentration. Following the game plan I think they were really good and I’m very happy for all of them, but especially for people like Ashley Young, playing outside his position, and Phil Jones – brave guy to say ‘I’m ready for the team’ when he wasn’t ready.
“After two or three months without kicking a ball he was ready only [in the head], but [in the head] is where it matters. I’m happy for Marcos playing his third consecutive match as a central defender, I’m happy for Matteo because left back is not his position, so the defensive line showed great personality. I’m pleased for them.”