Jose Mourinho replies when asked if Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start Man United v Brighton

The Man United manager rules out Zlatan Ibrahimovic starting for the Red Devils against Brighton on Saturday afternoon

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Photo: The Sport Review

Jose Mourinho has ruled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic starting Manchester United’s home clash against Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The former Sweden international made his return from a serious knee problem last weekend as a second-half substitute in Manchester United’s 4-1 win against Newcastle United last weekend.

Ibrahimovic was given a rousing reception at Old Trafford after the veteran striker ruptured his keen ligaments during Manchester United’s Europa League clash against Anderlecht back in April.

The 36-year-old was a substitute in the Red Devils’ 1-0 loss to Swiss side Basel in their penultimate Champions League group-stage fixture on Wednesday evening.

The former Barcelona striker faces a battle to get back into Mourinho’s team following the addition of Romelu Lukaku in a £75m deal from Everton in the summer transfer window.

And Mourinho ruled out Ibrahimovic starting the Premier League clash against Brighton on Saturday.

“No, he’s not ready, step by step, minute by minute, match by match,” Mourinho told his pre-match media conference on Friday.

“He’s not a player that you play only if the team is losing or only if the team is winning. He’s a player that’s easy to bring in to the game, so normally he’s going to have these periods of 15-20 [minutes] and, one day, we will feel that he’s physically ready [to start].”

The 36-year-old scored 28 times in all competitions during his first season at Old Trafford following his free transfer from Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

Ibrahimovic helped Manchester United to win the League Cup thanks to two goals in a 3-2 win over Southampton and contributed a number of goals in their successful Europa League campaign.

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