Premier League

Mourinho wants Ibrahimovic to take Manchester United to ‘a different level’

Jose Mourinho expects Zlatan Ibrahimovic to stay at Manchester United and build on an "amazingly successful" first season in England.

The experienced striker scored twice at Wembley to give United a 3-2 victory in the EFL Cup final over Southampton and secure his first major piece of silverware since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain.

Also Read: 4 Things we Learnt from Liverpool 3-1 win over Arsenal

Ibrahimovic, who also hit the winner in the Community Shield triumph over Leicester City last August, has scored 26 times in all competitions to help United challenge for honours on four fronts.

His future is unclear, however, with the club yet to formally exercise the option for an extra season in his one-year contract.

But Mourinho has tipped the 35-year-old to stay to be part of a United side that will reach "a different level" following further investment in the squad between now and next season.

"I see him staying with us because there was the initial agreement to come to us for one year plus us to have the option, so I see him staying with us," Mourinho told a news conference.

"It's been an amazingly successful year for him. It doesn't matter what is going to happen until the end of the season – the number of goals he's scored, the trophy he won, the impact he had is more than enough to consider him a success at Manchester United.

"But this team has a lot to grow up. The next transfer window will bring the team to a different level because we are going to try and bring a few players in, so I think Zlatan will be fundamental in the second year of this team and I think he's willing to stay.

"But that's my way, right or wrong, I only want players who want to stay 100 per cent. But my feelings are that he's really proud of himself, he's happy with the success of his situation, so I see him staying with us."

Assessing his own efforts since taking charge from Louis van Gaal, Mourinho hopes to have dispelled some prejudices about his methods during his time at Old Trafford.

"I think Manchester United learned I am not the monster that you say I am, I'm not such a bad guy, an arrogant guy, a difficult person to work with," he said. "Until now, at least, nobody at the training ground runs away when I arrive.

"So I think I am better than you think. People are quite happy to have me around and to work with me, the relationship with the players is very good. With my owners and my board, the relationship I don't think is just professional, it's also one of trust that goes further than the contract, so I'm happy.

"My feeling is everyone is happy but obviously my contract is three years, not seven or eight months and I want evolution and improvement."

United host Bournemouth on Saturday knowing that a win will take them above Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League table prior to the meeting of those side at Anfield.

"We know Liverpool play Arsenal and you know for sure somebody is going to lose points so we should [try to] win against Bournemouth," Mourinho added.

"But they are a very tricky team, a dangerous team, with quality, ambition, a team that normally tries to win matches, not to draw."

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