Jose Mourinho has issued a timely boost for Manchester United by revealing he expects star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return before the end of 2017.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho confirmed that the Swedish forward is ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee ligament damage suffered towards the end of last season.
A separate report from The Sun on Thursday even claims that Ibrahimovic, as well as fellow injured star Paul Pogba, could be in contention to face Newcastle on Saturday.
Pogba is expected to return within the next couple of games, though it does appear extremely unlikely that Ibrahimovic will be back on Saturday given what Mourinho has confirmed in his interview.
Mourinho said of Zlatan: "He is a lion, he is a fighter. I think that is a good description of him, he has the anger all the time and that's the reason why he's almost coming back. As we expect, he's reduced the timing of his recovering and, as we were saying a few weeks ago, he will be back in 2017, which is a magnificent recovery."
Ibrahimovic picked up the problem after landing awkwardly while jumping for a header in a Europa League tie against Anderlecht. It has kept the player out for a number of months and Ibrahimovic was even left off the club's retained list at the end of last season, as he was out of contract.
He did sign a new deal before the current season started though, citing how he had unfinished business at Old Trafford after bagging 28 goals in his debut season.
Both Ibrahimovic and Pogba are back in to the swing of things in full training with the United squad, and The Sun claim that each could be named on the bench at the weekend. Phil Jones however will miss out with an injury he aggravated on England duty recently.