Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said he would trade more than half of his 14 Premier League goals this season for a place at the top of the EPL table with Manchester United.
Ibrahimovic, a free transfer signing from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, moved level with Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez in the race for the English Premier League’s Golden Boot by scoring a late equaliser for United in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Old Trafford.
The Swede’s header extended United’s unbeaten run to 16 games in all competitions, but Jose Mourinho’s team remain in sixth position, 12 points adrift of leaders Chelsea, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Stoke City.
“It [the Golden Boot] is not my focus,” Ibrahimovic said. “Of course, if I can continue to score goals to help my team great, I am doing it and will do it.
With United not due to face a team currently in the top four until Chelsea visit Old Trafford in April, Mourinho’s team have the opportunity close the gap on the leaders and climb into the Champions League places in the weeks ahead.
But despite the draw against Liverpool, which ended United’s nine-game winning streak, Ibrahimovic believes the team are capable of mounting a challenge.
“Imagine if we’d got those points [from earlier draws], where we’d be now?” Ibrahimovic said. “It’d be a big difference.
“But, OK, 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.”
Meanwhile, former Manchester United captan Nemanja Vidic said that Ibrahimovic had been driving the team forward in recent weeks.
But he insists that others had to step up with goals too.
Vidic, who was part of United’s Champions League winning team in 2008, said: “He is the one who has been driving Manchester United forward in recent weeks. Other players have to step up with the goals if they want to keep winning matches. He is playing really well this season.”
Discussing the Swede’s success, Vidic added: “First of all, his motivation at 35 years of age is incredible. I think he’s keeping himself fit. He’s professional. And his scoring is a great record.”