Jose Mourinho's dream of a full-strength Manchester United, when the season resumes after the current international break, looks on course to becoming a reality after Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up his training regimen.
The Swedish forward, who has been sidelined since April due to a severe knee injury, was seen back on the pitch at United's Carrington training complex. Ibrahimovic's teammate Marouane Fellaini posted a video on his official Instagram account via Sky Sports that showed the striker training and shooting at some mannequins.
The Belgian midfielder also included a caption that read: "'Don't compare a lion to a human". It is a statement coined by the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain forward during his rehabilitation to suggest that he will return sooner than expected.
Ibrahimovic was expected to be sidelined until the New Year but has worked tirelessly to ensure an earlier than expected return. Mourinho remains hopeful that he will return in 2017 and the latest update is sure to delight the Portuguese manager.
United's blistering start to the season in the Premier League has dropped off in recent weeks and have now lost two of their last three games – the first against Huddersfield and the most recent against Chelsea on Sunday (5 November). Mourinho admitted after the game that he is waiting on the return of Ibrahimovic, while Paul Pogba and Marcos Rojo, the other two absentees due to injury are also set to return albeit a little sooner than the big striker.
The 36-year-old striker's doctor has called for patience and as has his manager. Ibrahimovic has made no secret of the fact that he wants to return as soon as possible with some reports suggesting that he could return for United's clash against Arsenal on 2 December.
However, that remains unlikely at the moment, and moreover, he has decided to take the advice of his doctor and manager and will not rush his return until he is given the go-ahead by the coaching staff.