Ibrahimovic outlines how Pioli helps manage his workload as he gives honest assessment of fitness

By Oliver Fisher -

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli does not put much pressure on him to contribute in the defensive phase, which helps his energy levels.

The Swede is showing that at the age of 39 he still has what it takes to play at the highest level, as he has 10 goals in his first six Serie A games of the season, currently topping the league scoring charts with Milan topping the table in general.

Ibrahimovic has given a long interview to Swedish source SportBladet about a variety of topics including the background on his return to Milan, a return to the national team and the latest on his injury.

He also spoke about Pioli and his management of Zlatan on the pitch: “He saves me in the defensive game, but in the offensive game I am free,” he said (via MilanNews).

“And when we attack I hear ‘Do I have to go back and get the ball like ten years ago, or do I have to stay up?’ Where do I help more?”

He went on to give an honest assessment about the fact that he can no longer contribute with the same energy on and off the ball and at both ends of the pitch like he used to do.

“The team? This is what I mean when I say that I have adapted my game to what I can. This energy, this condition, this running in the legs,” he said.

“If I could run 90 minutes non-stop, I would have done it, but I can’t. I’m honest with myself and I can’t. When I run a run, it takes a little longer to recover. But I choose when to do it and I sacrifice for the team when I have to sacrifice myself.”

Tags AC Milan Zlatan Ibrahimovic