'Surgery all that matters for Ibrahimovic' - Mourinho realistic on Man Utd star's future

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The Red Devils boss says the Swede's recovery from a knee injury is all that matters as questions are asked of his ongoing presence at Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho has refused to be drawn on the future of Manchester United's top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The 35-year-old's impressive debut season in England came to an abrupt halt when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in last week's Europa League quarter-final victory over Anderlecht.

Ibrahimovic did not sign an extension to his one-year Old Trafford deal when it was triggered earlier in the season and his future is now in limbo as he faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

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Mourinho has been linked with blockbusting moves for the likes of Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and Torino's Andrea Belotti in order to bolster a forward line that has been overly reliant on Ibrahimovic's 28 goals this season.

Asked by Sky Sports what lies in store for Ibrahimovic, Mourinho said: "He is in America and that's the only thing that matters now.

"He is in America to have the surgery and start the recovery process."

Matters closer to home will concern Mourinho and the rest of his squad on Thursday when United make the short trip to Manchester City in a crunch Premier League derby clash.

Pep Guardiola's City are a point and a place above United in fourth, meaning the outcome at the Etihad Stadium could be crucial in terms of Champions League qualification.

Guardiola once again praised his players in the aftermath of a setback against Arsenal in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final – an approach in contrast to Mourinho's open criticism of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial this term.

But Martial and Shaw both starred in a 2-0 win over Burnley last time out and the United boss feels his management of his squad does not merit undue scrutiny.

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"It is not a psychological approach," Mourinho added. "It is common sense. When you give everything you have, I cannot demand more from you.

"Marcus [Rashford], even when not performing especially well, he was giving absolutely everything. I could never demand more from him.

"I could just support and say, 'Better days will arrive'. Always super happy with the approach of such a young and talented kid.

"Some other guys don't give everything they have so that's the point. They have to and when they do it, I'm happy with them, it doesn't matter how they perform."

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