Despite the arrival of the prolific forward, alongside world record-signing Paul Pogba, United have struggled to establish themselves among the league’s top-four and face the prospect of another season without Champions League football.
Their best hope of qualifying for Europe’s elite competition now rests in the Europa League.
And while United have only lost three games in the league this season, their 20-game unbeaten run has not been enough to lift them any higher than sixth because of a series of frustrating draws.
But Ibrahimovic has praised Mourinho for his work at Old Trafford and believes the manager is getting the ‘maximum’ out of his team.
“I think Mourinho is doing maximum with the team he has,” said Ibrahimovic, who has scored a total of 27 goals in his first season in England. “Absolutely. He is getting 200 per cent out of the team he has.
“I know him very well from the past. I think he is older and he is calmer, but he is still the same winner as before.
“I mean the mentality is there because that you don’t lose. When you have it, you have it. It is nothing you learn, it is nothing you try to be. Either you are or you are not a winner.
Manchester United power rankings: Who’s in form and who must improve?
Juan Mata: The Spaniard matched his best goalscoring tally of 10 from the two previous seasons as he was the difference against Rostov at Old Trafford. Mata doesn’t always take centre-stage but often is an essential cog in United’s attacking fluency. Against Middlesbrough without Pogba and Herrera the start of United’s attack landed on Mata’s shoulders and he took his chance in March.
Antonio Valencia: An ever-present performer for United, the winger converted wing-back has been a blessing for Jose Mourinho and this month was no different. The third against Middlesbrough showed everything to what makes a player above average. The persistence to follow the ball to pressure Valdes late on and against Chelsea when United were under the cosh, his energy to continue right until the end was the epitome to his recent performances.
Marcus Rojo: A goal against Bournemouth and several strong performances has shown the Argentine has come on strong and possibly at the right time. The defender does have a tendency to lose his man at set pieces but strong performances as expected against Rostov and a change of system in recent weeks, he has been the stand out performer at the back.
Sergio Romero: Chances have been few and far between for the Argentine but his performances against a poor Rostov side, were crucial to the Manchester club progressing into the next round. The unorthodox save in Russia prevented United losing 2-1 and in the home leg, a poor United performance saw Rostov find space to keep Romero on his toes and he matched Sardar Azmoun’s top-corner bound free-kick at the death.
Jesse Lingard: Manchester United’s youth product continues to prove his worth time and time again for Mourinho. The Englishman earned a England call-up and even though he is often a substitute for United, against Middlesbrough he was a creative force, regularly providing the key pass for Rashford, but it was his strike from outside the area that once again showed his ability to score from range and score at a crucial point in the game, remind you of anyone?
Must Improve: 1/5
Ander Herrera: Usually such a dependable player this season, but March has been a harsh lesson for the Basque player. It could be down to a loss of energy due to his high work rate but without that same tenacity he appears a different prospect, highlighted in the Rostov match at Old Trafford and against Chelsea. The red card against Chelsea could be deemed harsh but either way it cost United in an important game for his team and Mourinho as it appeared his tactics could allow his side to snatch a result.
Must Improve: 2/5
Phil Jones: The defender has had moments of brilliance at United but this month it was filled with awkward and bad decisions. Understandably, it’s not Jones’ fault about being put on the wing, but Jones regularly used to make darting runs into the opposition half. This showed the injuries have impacted his game and a lack of confidence in his ability. The poor tackle to give Bournemouth a penalty for the draw was another costly decision, by a defender who could be on the way out of United in the summer.
Must Improve: 3/5
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The talisman for the season for United has been the Swedish striker. But the elbow on Tyrone Mings could have a lasting effect on the season for United beyond March. It did open the door for Rashford to gain some minutes but he failed to score in the Europa League against Rostov, especially at Old Trafford which was another poor performance.
Must Improve: 4/5
Paul Pogba: The Frenchman was pulled off injured against Rostov at Old Trafford but with United winning comfortable at Middlesbrough in the next game it would have hurt his pride. The Frenchman struggled to control N’Golo Kante in the FA Cup and resorted to hauling him to the ground in frustration, while against Bournemouth failed to conjure up any world beating inspiration. The injury could help the midfielder to witness Lingard’s impact and how he needs to find the same level of performance before the end of the season.
Must Improve: 5/5
Anthony Martial: The forward has struggled for a while now, and this month was no different. He has been In and out of the team and the matchday squad. Against Bournemouth at the start of the month, he was another to fail to produce a performance as United drew again and as a substitute he has been anonymous.
“That’s why I think his season has been good. We have done a good season for the team we have. We have won two trophies and I think the coach is doing absolutely the maximum with the team.
“Of course, some games you are unlucky, some games you are lucky, some games you do mistakes, some games the mistakes can be accepted but you still get a win.
“This is part of the game. If we were good enough to be No 1, we would be No 1 in the table now. So we have to be realistic – and I think this season has been great.”
Ibrahimovic is yet to confirm whether he will stay at United beyond his debut season but his renewed relationship with Mourinho, having worked together at Inter Milan before, is one he clearly enjoys.
The Swede added: “The manager likes to look you in your eyes and tell you…and I prefer that.
“He is direct and at least he sends you the message of what he thinks. He is the boss, he decides and he controls the situation.
“He told us at half-time against Everton that we were not good enough – and it was right that we heard that because we weren’t good enough.
“It is the way it works. I am from the old generation and I think the old generation was more like that.”