Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo are available for Manchester United’s home game against Newcastle United on Saturday. All have recovered from injuries, with José Mourinho picking out Pogba’s absence as a particular hardship for the team.
Pogba pulled a hamstring during the 3-0 Champions League win over Basel on 12 September. United were unbeaten at that point but surrendered that record when losing 2-1 at Huddersfield a month later. They also lost at Chelsea in the last match before the international break. Ibrahimovic and Rojo have been out since April with knee injuries.
Mourinho said: “Now I can speak because Paul is back but you can clearly see Manchester United this season before Paul’s injury and after Paul’s injury. There are qualities in our football that influence our approach in matches, with Pogba and without Pogba, that’s as simple as that.”
Ibrahimovic ended last season as United’s top scorer with 28 goals, despite his campaign ending early.
Mourinho said: “Zlatan last season we played with him every minute almost until he was injured. This season we learn how to play without him but he’s a very important player. We welcome him back.
“He has an incredible personality to fight such an important injury. We were all saying in 2017 he will be back but one thing is 31 December 2017 and another thing is mid-November. He was as an injured player the same super professional he is when he’s fit.
“So fantastic work – same as Marcos, who had a serious injury too, a big surgery. He played with the young boys [the reserves] on Wednesday and is fine, is confident, is also ready. Paul is obviously not the same dimension, was not a surgical situation but was also bad and all three are back.”
Of the 36-year-old Ibrahimovic, Mourinho added: “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 is fantastic to be ready.”