Manchester United defender Phil Jones has stated that star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a "big focal point" in Jose Mourinho's side.
Quite the handful
Ibrahimovic has been one of the deadliest strikers on the continent for a number of years, and was expected to light up the Premier League after his move from Paris Saint-Germain.
Despite a minor blip, the Swede has certainly achieved that with 17 goals in all competitions so far, and Jones stated that the 35-year-old is a big part of the side.
"He’s a big focal point for our team," Jones said. "He’s a handful, he’s a big, strong man and he knows where the back of the net is."
"He’s got great feet and his link-up play," the defender stated, "the way he brings others into play, is superb."
"He gives you that outlet when you are under pressure," he admitted. "Obviously we don’t want to keep knocking the ball long in games But if you have to then he’s always there to receive it. He makes life very difficult for [opposition] defenders."
Zlatan will be there again, says Mourinho
At the grand old age of 35, many will have expected the Swede to begin his decline but he seems to be far from that. Saturday's goal in the 3-1 win over Sunderland was his 50th goal of the calendar year, beating out the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.
Ibrahimovic could take over Lionel Messi in the New Year's Eve clash with Middlesbrough, and Mourinho stated he can continue his form into the new year.
“When we contacted him and he said yes he will come," Mourinho told SunSport, "I was completely clear that he would be ready."
“And he is ready for more next season," the coach stated, "he will be here again."
“He could have scored more in this game [against Sunderland]," he admitted, "he had a chance in front of Jordan Pickford and I thought, ‘Two-nil and game over’."
"But independent of goals his work is amazing," Mourinho concluded, "he was making runs against younger opponents. He was faster and stronger than them.”
Manchester United will take on Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on Saturday, December 31 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.