Mourinho’s Manchester United host Anderlecht tonight in the second leg of their quarter-final. The tie is evenly poised at 1-1, with United desperate to go through to keep alive their hopes of winning the competition and securing Champions League qualification.
Reaching the final in Stockholm on May 24 would provide Ibrahimovic with an emotional return to his homeland. The swaggering Swede has had a stunning first campaign with United scoring 28 goals, including the Wembley winner in the EFL Cup final.
He would like nothing more than to go back to Sweden to strut his stuff in front of his home fans. And Mourinho admits it could be written in the stars. The United boss said: “It will be the perfect finale for us and Manchester United.
“For Zlatan it would also be fantastic to play the final in Stockholm, in his country. It would be beautiful.
“I just try to think about Manchester United, but I think it would be the perfect finale for us and the perfect end of the season for us.
“It has been a difficult season, with lots of matches, trying to build a team trying to recover a certain mentality and trying to finish the season playing in a European final.”
Mourinho was left frustrated when United failed to kill-off Anderlecht in last week’s first leg before conceding a late equaliser. But despite having the advantage of an away goal, he has no intention of telling United to protect it and wants them to go on the attack.
He wants his stars to replicate the intense performance that saw them crush Chelsea 2-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday and will recall Ibrahimovic, who was rested against Antonio Conte’s men.
“I wasn’t disappointed with Zlatan (in Belgium). The team had the game in their hands but the team didn’t win the game,” said Mourinho, who will again be without injured trio Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Juan Mata.
“If we had won 3-0 in Anderlecht then this would be a nice game, I could play some of the younger boys without any pressure.
“It was a very good performance against Chelsea. We touched the right point.
“The team was very intense, quick to recover the ball. It was a really good performance.
“I always think that football is a lot about the motivational levels and of course playing the leaders is always a challenge.
“We reached that level of concentration and intensity against Chelsea especially because we started from minute one.
“The first thing is to have the motivation high. I think a big club like Manchester United, probably when you start the Europa League you don’t have that motivational high in September and October.
“But when you get to this level the motivation has to be very high. You must at least equal Anderlecht’s motivation.
“We showed in Brussels that we are a strong team – but you have to equal their motivation.” Source: dailystar