Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims that playing in the Europa League on Thursday night is ‘killing’ him and damaging Manchester United’s Premier League challenge this season.
United arrived home from Ukraine in the early hours of Friday after a three-hour journey from Odessa, having clinched their place in the last 32 of Europe’s secondary competition with a 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk.
It has left Jose Mourinho’s side little time to prepare for Sunday’s encounter with fifth-placed Tottenham at Old Trafford which United desperately need to win to stay in touch with the leading pack.
The 35-year-old Ibrahimovic has surprisingly made more appearances than any other outfield player at United this season and claims playing later in the week has taken its toll.
‘We don’t have a lot of rest because these Thursdays are killing you, especially me.
‘I am not used to playing Thursdays and now we have one day less to recover. We have to get back to work and play the new game on Sunday.’
The Swede has been criticized for missing so many chances this season, but his 13 goals in 22 appearances before Christmas is more than probably more than anyone expected.
While the Europa League could have impacted United’s start to the season we are now entering the part of the schedule that is dominate by domestic matches. This is where Jose Mourinho’s side have to made up ground on the title leaders.
Consider that between the game on Sunday versus Spurs and the Manchester Derby in late February, United play 10 games, and they will be favored in probably everyone. This is the opportunity for Jose Mourinho’s side to pick up 26 or 27 points from 30 and get back into the top four before the Manchester derby.
- Crystal Palace (A)
- West Brom (A)
- Sunderland (H)
- Middlesbrough (H)
- West Ham United (A)
- Liverpool (H)
- Stoke City (A)
- Hull City (H)
- Leicester City (A)
- Watford (H)