Mourinho picks Lukaku over Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has kept faith with Romelu Lukaku amid report that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will rejoin the club in January.

The 37-year-old was given a shot in English football by the Portuguese when he signed him as a free agent in the summer of 2016 from Paris Saint-Germain and scored 28 goals in all competitions that season as the Red Devils went on to win the Europa League for the first time in their history.

However, the former Sweden star suffered a cruciate ligament injury before the end of the campaign and, after battling back to first-team action by the end of 2017, he moved Stateside to LA Galaxy and in 26 league games for the MLS, Zlatan has struck 22 times, while United’s first-choice striker Romelu Lukaku is in the midst of a much-discussed lean spell.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Everton, Mourinho was asked on the possibility of re-signing the Swedish football legend and he replied: “No.”

Mourinho went on to underline his confidence that Lukaku despite his current goal-drought, having gone eight games without a goal in club colours.

“I always feel the [next] game is the game [he will score],” he said. “I feel that every game. One day he will score and one day his confidence levels will be back to normal, which clearly they are not. I always feel that every game is the game.”

An injury list that includes Chile forward Alexis Sanchez means Mourinho feels he is unable to take Lukaku out of the firing line at present.

“Against Juventus, to give him a break, I don’t think [first-team coach Michael] Carrick can play as a striker. Or [if] we play with the players that we did or we decide to give a rest to Lukaku, then [Marcus] Rashford plays as a striker, who plays as a winger?

“At this moment we are not in the best situation to think about resting players or trying to find solutions. The solution now is to play the players we have.”

Meanwhile, Mourinho has conceded that Manchester United may lose the services of David de Gea as he revealed that he is not sure the Spaniard will sign a new long-term contract with the 20-time English champions.

“I am not confident,” Mourinho told told Sky Sports News. “I cannot find the word in English, but let’s see what happens. Only the club, David and his people can answer that.

“My comment is only that everyone knows how good he is, how important he is for Manchester United and, if the club want to be better than it is and not worse, obviously it would be very important to keep David.”

De Gea has made 327 appearances in all competitions for United since a 2011 move from Atletico Madrid, winning one Premier League title, the FA Cup and the League Cup during his time at the club.