Mourinho hints at Ibrahimovic return against Man City

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The Swedish striker missed the weekend's 3-1 win over Arsenal, but he may return against Pep Guardiola's Premier League leaders

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hinted that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could start the Manchester derby.

United face league leaders Manchester City on Sunday, looking to close an eight-point gap to Pep Guardiola's side, who beat West Ham United 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium last time out.

Mourinho's men staged a smash-and-grab at the Emirates Stadium to beat Arsenal 3-1, and did so without the Sweden international, who has been struggling with a niggling knee injury.

Ibrahimovic will miss the Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, but Mourinho has suggested the 36-year-old could be back in the fold in time to face the runaway league leaders.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"Zlatan is not injured," Mourinho said. "He sometimes needs some very hard work on the muscular area which supports [the] knee which had problems.

"When a period of hard work comes, also the fatigue comes. To work really hard for a certain period of time, he cannot play in these days, so we decided to do that after Watford (a 4-2 win last week).

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"He's on that cycle of work now, divided between gym and pitch. He'll be out again tomorrow [Tuesday], but back to normal work after CSKA.

"All other players who were out are still out. But I could make a surprise and one who isn't available may play."

Ibrahimovic made his return from his knee injury against Newcastle United, and has since made three further appearances, against Basel, Brighton and Watford. He is yet to complete 90 minutes, however.

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