Zlatan ruled out for a month as Mourinho waits on Lukaku news

Jose Mourinho has admitted it could be up to a month before Zlatan Ibrahimovic rejoins the Manchester United first team due to a new fitness setback.

The Swedish star returned to the Red Devils first team in December after a prolonged lay-off caused by a cruciate ligament tear. 

He has looked a pale shadow of his usual self since regaining fitness, however, and was left out of the match-day squad altogether on Saturday for United's 0-0 draw with Southampton. 

Speaking after the game, Mourinho affirmed he is not expecting to pick Ibrahimovic again until well into the new year. 

"He will be out for a month," he told reporters after the final whistle. 

"The same [knee as before]," Mourinho is quoted as telling the BBC. "A massive problem. He is a 36-year-old with a bad knee."

United's also look likely to lose Romelu Lukaku, who was taken off early against Southampton following a nasty clash of heads. 

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Mourinho stated that he was unsure about the severity of Lukaku's head injury, but he is expecting him to also miss gametime over the coming weeks.

"I don't know, I just know that [it's] bad, bad news normally arrives immediately and on this occasion bad news didn't arrive," he explained.

"But obviously it was a problem. We lost him for today and I would say for at least two more games."