Champions League

No group-stage action for Ibra, says Mourinho

2017-08-25 18:43
Jose Mourinho.(Getty Images)

Manchester - Jose Mourinho does not know when Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to action, but he has ruled him out of Manchester United's Champions League group games.

Ibrahimovic, 35, rejoined United on a one-season contract earlier this week, four months after undergoing career-saving knee ligament surgery.

But while the Swedish striker has been busy talking up his return on social media, Mourinho does not expect to be able to call upon him until next year.

"He will not be ready for the group phase of the Champion League. I don't think there is any chance of that," said Mourinho, whose side face Benfica, Basel and CSKA Moscow in Group A.

"I'm not thinking Zlatan to play any part of the group phase. Hopefully he can play in the knockout phase, but for that we need to finish top two.

"I don't want to think about it. I don't even ask, speak about it or with the medical team about it.

"He will be an extra man for us in the second part of the season. When I say second part, we say January after Christmas, when the transfer window re-opens, but I have no idea at all."

Ibrahimovic, who scored 28 goals in his first Old Trafford campaign, had been linked with a move to Major League Soccer and Mourinho said his desire to rejoin United showed his ambition was fully intact.

"It shows two things for me: it shows me the dimension of the player and the club," the United manager told reporters at the club's training centre in Carrington, west of Manchester on Friday.

"The player, it would be very easy for him to say goodbye. He had success at Man United, goodbye. He doesn't do that. He wants to follow his other dreams and play football at the highest level.

"And a club like Man United in my opinion has to show how big it is in details and this is a big detail of a player that gets injured with the Man United shirt, fighting for Man United.

"The club has to be there for him and I'm really happy with club and player."

Mourinho paid tribute to former United captain Wayne Rooney, who announced his retirement from the England team this week, and revealed he was in touch with the striker on the eve of his announcement.

"He told me the night before," said Mourinho. "I am nobody to agree, don't agree. I just listen to his reasons and I understand his reasons.

"He does it for Everton, for his family, so I have no complaints.

"I just realise like many other people when he retires, you realise how many matches he played, goals he scored, the football he represents in this country.

"Many congratulations for his career with the (Three) Lions."

Mourinho also reacted to Thursday's Champions League draw and said United's group would not be as easy as some pundits seem to think.

"My reaction is of somebody who played 120 matches in the Champions League and it's a completely different reaction than the reactions I listen to," he said.

"I think when you think about qualifying, it's better to have two top teams and two weak teams and let's see if we can finish second or first, but we are qualified.

"In this kind of group, everyone can win, lose, draw, and we are going to share the points in between teams. You are not going to see a 4-0 or 5-0, a team with 13, 14, 16 points, another with zero or one.

"So I think it's a dangerous group and if you go to the recent history of Man United, they lost to Basel (in 2011) and could not beat Benfica in two matches (in 2011).

"I think also against CSKA Moscow the last time was 0-0 or 1-0 or something (a 1-0 win in November 2015)."

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Sevilla v Maribor, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 20:45
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 20:45
APOEL v Tottenham Hotspur, Neo GSP 20:45
Spartak Moskva v Liverpool, Otkrytiye Arena 20:45
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 20:45
Monaco v Porto, Stade Louis II. 20:45
Napoli v Feyenoord, Stadio San Paolo 20:45
Besiktas v RB Leipzig, Vodafone Stadyumu 20:45
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Qarabag v Roma, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 18:00
Juventus v Olympiakos Piraeus, Allianz Stadium 20:45
Sporting CP v Barcelona, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 20:45
PSG v Bayern Munchen, Parc des Princes 20:45
Basel v Benfica, St. Jakob-Park 20:45
Anderlecht v Celtic, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 20:45
CSKA Moskva v Manchester United, VEB Arena 20:45
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
Manchester City v Napoli, Etihad Stadium 20:45
Maribor v Liverpool, Ljudski vrt 20:45
APOEL v Borussia Dortmund, Neo GSP 20:45
Spartak Moskva v Sevilla, Otkrytiye Arena 20:45
RB Leipzig v Porto, Red Bull Arena 20:45
Monaco v Besiktas, Stade Louis II. 20:45
Feyenoord v Shakhtar Donetsk, Stadion Feijenoord 20:45
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Qarabag v Atletico Madrid, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 18:00
Juventus v Sporting CP, Allianz Stadium 20:45
Bayern Munchen v Celtic, Allianz-Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Olympiakos Piraeus, Camp Nou 20:45
Benfica v Manchester United, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 20:45
Anderlecht v PSG, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 20:45
Chelsea v Roma, Stamford Bridge 20:45
CSKA Moskva v Basel, VEB Arena 20:45
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Celtic v Bayern Munchen, Celtic Park 21:45
Sporting CP v Juventus, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Atletico Madrid v Qarabag, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:45
Manchester United v Benfica, Old Trafford 21:45
PSG v Anderlecht, Parc des Princes 21:45
Basel v CSKA Moskva, St. Jakob-Park 21:45
Olympiakos Piraeus v Barcelona, Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki 21:45
Roma v Chelsea, Stadio Olimpico 21:45
Wednesday, 01 November 2017
Besiktas v Monaco, Vodafone Stadyumu 19:00
Liverpool v Maribor, Anfield 21:45
Porto v RB Leipzig, Estadio Do Dragao 21:45
Sevilla v Spartak Moskva, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Feyenoord, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v APOEL, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:45
Napoli v Manchester City, Stadio San Paolo 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid, Wembley Stadium 21:45
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