Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been impressed by the development of Victor Lindelof and revealed how he explained to the defender that he needed to knuckle down and prove himself to ensure he succeeded at Manchester United.
The Red Devils spent big luring the highly-rated defender away from Benfica in the summer of 2017.
An immediate return was expected on a £40 million ($52m) outlay, but Lindelof struggled to find his feet in English football during a debut campaign which delivered just 13 Premier League starts.
The 24-year-old has already taken in 20 this season and has been a reliable option for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during a 10-game unbeaten run for United’s interim boss.
Lindelof is considered to now be showing his true colours, with countryman and former Red Devils striker Ibrahimovic telling BetHard: "I think he had a difficult time in the beginning, but I think that is typical Swedish. When you come somewhere, you are friendly to everybody.
"You play, you don't play, you still feel in friendly situation.
"I explained to him, 'listen, all these players are conquerors. You're here to survive. You're not here to be friendly to everybody so you need to perform'.
"'If you don't perform, the club has no problems with selling [you], that's the way it is’.
"And I think he's been doing good lately. He's playing much more after a first year of struggling."
The enigmatic frontman added: "I think he has more confidence when he plays.
"Hopefully he can continue and be strong mentally because I don't think it's about the quality, it's more in the head.
"I've always said 50 per cent is in your head. It doesn't matter how good you are, if you can’t make it mentally, you will not survive."
With Lindelof proving that he can flourish under the brightest of spotlights at club level, Ibrahimovic is hoping that experience will aid the cause of the Sweden national side.
"That is what I've been through for 20 years. Not ‘normal’ clubs.
"It's not an easy world but now he gets to feel it.
"Hopefully, he can continue to focus and train like he does because he trains really good and he is professional."