Lukaku return date unknown, Ibrahimovic out for a month - FCNaija

EPL By: Ambrose Udeme | 31/12/2017

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be absent from first-team football for a month due to a knee problem while he's in the dark over the exact return date for Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku was taken off on a stretcher in the first half of Manchester United's 0-0 draw with Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday following a clash of head with Wesley Hoedt. The injury prompted six minutes of stoppage time at the end of the half.

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The medical staff have been assessing the extent of the problem and it is hoped it will not be too serious but Mourinho in his post-match briefing confirmed the big money arrival from Everton last summer will could be out for up to two games.

When quizzed about a timescale on the summer signing's return, Mourinho said: "I don’t know. I know that normally bad, bad news arrives immediately. Bad news didn't arrive. I think that there’s a problem for the next two matches. For sure.

"He was just unlucky. I think the Dutch central defender goes with him for the ball and it's unlucky for Romelu and unlucky for Hoedt. It was nothing aggressive and, hopefully, nothing important. But the first consequence of is he didn't play for the rest of the game." Mourinho told United's website

On the absence of Ibrahimovic in Saturday's matchday squad, the Red Devils' manager added: "It's a massive problem. He is a 37-year-old with a bad knee." added the Portuguese coach

Ibrahimovic who returned to competitive football against Newcastle on 18 November, after a seven-month lay-off due to a knee ligament injury sustained in a Europa League match against Anderlecht last season started the 2-2 draw against Burnley at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, but was replaced by Jesse Lingard at half-time.

United visit Goodison Park to play Everton on New Year's Day, and host Derby County in an Emirates FA Cup third-round tie on Friday 5 January.