Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It's 'Easy' for Stars to Play Together

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It's 'Easy' for Stars to Play Together

Article excerpt

UNITED manager Jose Mourinho insists it will be 'easy' for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku to play together.

Lukaku replaced Ibrahimovic as the United number nine in the summer but the 36-year-old Swede has recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is set to return to the squad against Newcastle at Old Trafford today.

Belgium international Lukaku has not scored in seven for United but struck three times for the national team against Mexico and Japan earlier this month and Mourinho is relaxed about his situation as he prepares to compete with Ibrahimovic up front.

Lukaku has netted 11 times for United but his last goal was on September 30 and Ibrahimovic plundered 28 goals last term.

"It's easy," Mourinho said of the possibility Lukaku and Ibrahimovic could forge a strike partnership.

"Good players can play together. It's easy to play together. He [Ibrahimovic] made a full recovery, now you cannot expect him to play 90 minutes or consecutive matches like he did all his career, now he needs time to be back for his level, his fitness, his confidence, everything, his sharpness.

"But by the clinical point of view it's fantastic to be ready."

Mourinho also all but admitted United are a superior side with Paul Pogba.

Pogba is set to make his comeback from a two-month lay-off with a hamstring injury against Newcastle. United won their first three Premier League games, scoring 10 goals, to ascend to the top of the table in August and Pogba struck in the 4-0 victories over Swansea and West Ham before he succumbed to injury against Basel on September 12.

Mourinho's team coped admirably without the France international in September as they beat Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace in the league yet United have managed one win and two goals in their last four, as they struggled against 'big six' sides Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.

"Paul, you can see that there was and - now I can speak because he's back - but you can clearly see Manchester United this season before Paul injury and after Paul injury," Mourinho said.

"There are qualities in our football that influence our approach in matches, with Pogba and without Pogba, that's as simple as that. …

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