Zlatan Ibrahimovic on why Sir Alex Ferguson era has made life tough for Man Utd today
Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the incredible legacy of Sir Alex Ferguson is still something successive Manchester United managers are struggling to come to terms with.
Ferguson’s role as a mentor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been highlighted as a key factor in the Norwegian’s hugely encouraging time as interim boss.
But Ibrahimovic reckons the weight of history remains a burden on those trying to re-establish United as a dominant force at home and abroad.
He explains: “Everything that happens is judged by the era of Ferguson. They are saying if Ferguson was here, this would not happen, Ferguson would not do it like that.
“Ferguson would do it like this. Everything was Ferguson.
“If it was me, I would say I don’t have Ferguson any more. And I come here and I want to make my own history, I want to make my own story.
“So I do not want to hear what happened before. I want to do it in the present. You come in with a new mentality.
“Ferguson has his place in history at this club but now the club continues. It has to find its own identity and it is difficult.”
Ibrahimovic had a close relationship with Jose Mourinho, who regularly came under fire from ex-United players of the Ferguson years, in particular from Paul Scholes.
And that was clearly not to the liking of Zlatan, who has his own term for the Class of ’92 - the Circle of Ferguson.
He goes on: “They are not there anymore. They are on TV and complaining all the time because they are not active in the club.
“If you want to work in the club, go and search for work in the club.
“So you cannot be on TV and always complaining and criticising. Yeah, ok, you’ve had your time, we know it.”
Ibrahimovic is close to Paul Pogba and insists the Frenchman was also unfairly analysed by former Old Trafford names, explaining: “With Pogba, he was with United when he was young, then he went out and he came back.
“And in the circle of Ferguson, they don’t like that. Because they stayed all their life under Ferguson and they never moved from Ferguson.
“And they didn’t even talk if Ferguson didn’t tell them to open their mouth.
“So now if they are talking, I don’t know whether Ferguson gave them permission or not.”
But Ibrahimovic, who scored 29 goals in 53 appearances for United, is convinced Pogba and Marcus Rashford can now lead the club back to the top.
He says: “I think Pogba has the potential to be the best player in the world in his position.
“He is a good guy, he trains hard, he listens, he wants to become better, he wants to win. He want to perform in every game.
“Things happening outside do not really bother him because when you are at that level, everyone will speak. Positive, negative, in between, everybody.
“Rashford is the future of Manchester United. In the beginning, I saw him more as an individual - now he is playing more for the collective. He is using his quality more for the team, not for himself only.
“He has big potential and a big future with United and the special thing is that he comes from the academy. I think he has no limits.”
While Solskjaer now looks certain to become the permanent successor to Mourinho, Ibrahimovic has no doubt Jose will soon be back in business.
He declares: “What he has done, you can never erase that. He has a CV where he won wherever he went.
“And you want to win. If, for example, I did not win, you could say… Ibrahimovic was a good player but what did he win?
“When I came to United, I did not come for a vacation. I didn’t come to admire the sign of Manchester United. I came to win.”
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