Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, has said that he doesn’t think that there is any chance Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be fit to play in the Champions League group stages.

Ibrahimovic, who recently signed a new one-year deal with the club, is still out of action having been injured last year but Mourinho thinks that he could play a crucial role for the team if they reach the knockout stages.

Speaking recently Mourinho said, “I don’t think there is any chance of that. Do we have space in the Champions League list to have him? Yes, we have. Hopefully he can play in the knockout phase but for that we need to finish top two.”

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Mourinho also said that he is happy to have Ibrahimovic back in the team but he wouldn’t be drawn into putting a timeline on his return to action. Last season Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in 46 games before he injured his knee.

Mourinho said, “I don’t want to think about it. I don’t even ask. I don’t speak with him about it, I don’t speak with the medical team about it. I just think he will be an extra man for us in the second part of the season.”

He said that he admired Ibrahimovic for continuing when he could easily have said that he had a great season but that it was time to retire. He also praised the team for allowing Ibrahimovic to sign a new deal saying that it showed the right attitude towards a player who was injured “in a Manchester United shirt, fighting for Manchester United”.

Mourinho said that it is the club’s responsibility to offer Ibrahimovic support and that he is “really happy with club and player”.