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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United return not an option - Jose Mourinho

MANCHESTER, England -- Jose Mourinho has ruled out bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to Manchester United but admitted he has got striker problems ahead of the Premier League game against Everton.

Mourinho said he will have to keep faith with out-of-form Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford on Sunday because Alexis Sanchez, who missed the midweek defeat to Juventus, is likely to be ruled out again.

The United boss also replied "no" when asked whether Ibrahimovic was an option to ease the goal-scoring burden on Lukaku, who has gone eight games without a goal.

"Well, against Juventus to give him [Lukaku] a break, I don't think [Michael] Carrick can play as a striker," Mourinho said.

"Or we play with the players that we did or we decide to give a rest to Lukaku, then [Marcus] Rashford, who plays as a winger?

"We are not in the best moment to try to think about resting players or try to find solutions.

"The solution is to use the players we have.

"One day he will score and one day his confidence levels will be back to normal, which clearly they are not [at the moment] but I always feel that."

While Lukuku is on the longest barren run since leaving Everton for United in 2017, Sanchez is struggling with an abductor injury that he picked up playing for Chile and which limited him to just five minutes off the bench against Chelsea before missing the defeat to Juventus.

Mourinho is not confident he will be available to face Everton either and hit out at the Chilean FA, as well as other "unprofessional" associations, for failing to send back injured players during the international break.

While Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic both returned early and were able to play against Chelsea and Juventus, Sanchez, Marouane Fellaini, Diogo Dalot and Scott McTominay missed both games despite remaining with their countries for the full two-week break.

"Some of the national teams were very professional with us and sent the players back and we could start the process early but some of them wouldn't and they kept the players and we didn't even know the dimension and nature of the injuries so when the players arrive two days before Chelsea we have no idea what is going on," Mourinho said.

"[Sanchez] is struggling because he's injured and he came to the Chelsea match to try to help the team but his physical condition was not good and then he had to stop and was not available for Juventus.

"He arrived in January. I don't think it is ever an easy situation for a player but this season he had a good start, a good preseason, he started well against Leicester and then he was injured.

"Then he came back and was injured again and he is the kind of player that needs to be really really sharp,"

Mourinho is hopeful his injury problems are on the verge of easing with the return of Jesse Lingard, who has missed the past five games with a groin problem he first picked up during the World Cup.

The 25-year-old has a chance of being involved against Everton but may have to wait for the trip to Bournemouth on Nov. 3.

"He came from the World Cup with that problem," Mourinho said. "He thought wrongly that the holiday period would bring things to normality, then he thought wrongly that working with the team would improve and then he felt in an impossible situation to play football.

"Now he's going back and to do the work to try and be 100 percent and in this moment he's almost there because of the team's needs.

"Can he help us in the next match? That is the question we have to answer or if we wait one more week."

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