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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

'I knew Zlatan would be massive for Man United' - Jose Mourinho

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is flying on all cylinders at United, but for just how much longer can he maintain this high level?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was always going to make "massive contribution" to Manchester United, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

Despite question marks over his age -- he turns 36 in October -- the Swedish striker has consistently delivered for United.

He came off the bench to score a 75th-minute winner as the Red Devils prevailed over second-tier Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup to earn a quarterfinal tie at Chelsea.

"I don't know the number of goals [Ibrahimovic has scored], I don't know," Mourinho told a media conference.

"I knew that he would be a very important player for us. I knew that for sure. One more goal, one less goal, but I knew that the contribution would be massive for us."

Ibrahimovic's heroics at Ewood Park came after Marcus Rashford had cancelled out Danny Graham's opener for Blackburn.

The ex-Barcelona and Inter Milan forward has now scored five goals in his past four games, with a total of 24 in all competitions this season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored five goals in his last four games in all competitions.

Later on Monday, Manchester United great Ryan Giggs said he has been blown away by the "unbelievable" Ibrahimovic's form and longevity, comparing the Swede to Eric Contona.

"I think there's similarities because of that confidence they have in their own ability and the goals that they have scored," Giggs told Press Association Sport. "It didn't faze Eric or Ibrahimovic coming to United and being the number one player.

"Even when they are playing well and getting all the adoration, they don't get carried away. It's their job and you can see that he is a good professional, he is always fit and at his age to play centre-forward and to produce the goals he is producing is unbelievable."

Ibrahimovic still has a way to go to catch Giggs, who made a club-record 963 appearances before calling time on his playing career aged 40.

"It is not easy [playing into your mid-30s]," he added. "The first bad game that you have, everyone always says, 'He is too old' or he is this or that, so you're fighting against that all the time. But to actually be centre-forward and be the man they are relying on really to score the goals is added pressure as well.

"He is not the kind of player that will be overawed by that, and you can see that with the hat-trick in midweek and obviously rescuing United [on Sunday]."

Man United will travel to France later this week ahead of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie against St. Etienne on Thursday. They hold a 3-0 lead from the first leg.

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