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Ibrahimovic: Pressure around me is nothing compared to pressure I put on myself


Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he puts more pressure on himself than anyone else does

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he puts more pressure on himself than anyone else does

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he puts more pressure on himself than anyone else does

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says his determination to help restore Manchester United to glory brings more pressure than any external force can exert.

Jose Mourinho has overcome a bumpy start to life in the Old Trafford hotseat to take United on an impressive unbeaten run in all competitions, which extended to a 16th match on Sunday thanks to Ibrahimovic's late header in a pulsating 1-1 draw with bitter rivals Liverpool.

It did, though, bring an end to a six-game game winning run in the Premier League, leaving them sixth in the standings - 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.

Frustrating results at home have hampered their title chances this term and Ibrahimovic knows they can ill-afford any more mistakes, but the striker believes United are well placed to push until the end.

"Of course (there is little margin for error now)," he said. "Imagine if we'd got those points (dropped early in season), where we'd be now? It'd be a big difference. But, okay, we're paying for it.

"We had a gap where there was a distance to the top five but now we're closer. From second to us is five points, Chelsea is 12. We are there, we just wait for the other ones to do mistakes.

"If we could have won against Liverpool it'd have been a fantastic result but we take the draw and let's see what the other teams do.

"Hopefully they make mistakes and have their own dip because we had our dips. We just need to win and keep going like we're doing. We've got great confidence."

There remains a building momentum around Old Trafford despite Sunday's draw, thanks in no small part to Ibrahimovic making a mockery of those questioning whether at 35 he could handle the rigours of Premier League football.

The Swede has plundered 14 goals in 20 top-flight matches but would swap that record for collective success as "it's all about winning", meaning the Golden Boot is a secondary thought.

"I think the pressure I have all around me is nothing compared to the pressure I put on myself," Ibrahimovic said.

"I really want to do not perfect, more than perfect, every game, even in training. I'm not happy if I don't win in training so imagine what it's like in the games.

"That is the pressure I put on myself and so your pressure becomes like a kindergarten for me.

"My pressure is really high. I'm not satisfied until I get what I want. What I want is to win."

There is no doubting anyone at United's desire to win, but there were questions as to whether Paul Pogba was overwhelmed against Liverpool.

The world's most expensive player appeared to lack the confidence that had grown in recent weeks and conceded a penalty on an afternoon when the pitchside advertising boards promoted his #Pogba Twitter hashtag.

"Pressure is something I enjoy," Ibrahimovic said. "I don't know Paul personally to be able to answer that for him. But I think he likes it also because, without pressure, we would not be on our toes at the top level.

"If you want to play at the top, pressure is 24 hours, and if you play well or better the pressure becomes even greater.

"So it's something that we learn from and something we have to handle because we belong to the top, Paul belongs to the top absolutely and the pressure will be there."

Asked if the Twitter emoji adverts heap too much pressure on Pogba, Ibrahimovic said: "I think football is like that today. With the social media, the media building up the game.

"When I started to play football there was no social media, none of these things. But it's part of the game now. What is too much, what is too less? We don't know. We just follow the game. We are professional, we train like always, try to do our best every game.

"For Paul (on Sunday) the game was different. It was a dirty game, in the way we had to play more direct, by jumping over the midfield because the pressure Liverpool put on us was hard.

"It was difficult. The first game against them was the same. The guys told me every game we play against Liverpool looks like this."