Eric Bailly’s latest injury will cause him to miss tonight’s Europa League clash with AC Milan.

This means it will be Victor Lindelof partnering Harry Maguire in defence, going up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Lindelof knows Zlatan well from their time together in the Sweden international set up.

They also crossed over at Manchester United, with Lindelof joining in 2017 while Zlatan was recovering from his ACL injury.

Manchester United Announce Signing of Victor Lindelof
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Speaking about Lindelof’s start at United, Zlatan was claimed to have told his fellow Swede to be less friendly and more arrogant.

In an interview with The Mail, Lindelof claimed Zlatan’s quote of ‘You’re here to survive, not to be friendly. So you need to perform’, was not quite how he remembered the conversation.

Lindelof said: “He did talk to me but didn’t say exactly that. But he likes to give good quotes, doesn’t he? Yeah I am Swedish and a nice person. There is nothing wrong with that. I like to treat people with respect. That’s how I was raised.

“On the pitch, yeah, maybe I could have been a bit more myself at the start. But in the beginning, the way I am off the pitch I like to be more quiet and see what kind of people I am with and then make judgment.

 

“But Zlatan and I get on well because we can both have opinions. It’s good.”

Lindelof knows what not to do tonight

Tonight at the San Siro, Lindelof will have to drop any friendliness he has towards Zlatan.

If he is friendly towards his international teammate, Zlatan will see it as a sign of weakness that he can exploit.

Lindelof needs to be aggressive, cold, and save the handshakes and greetings for after the game off the pitch.

AC Milan  v FC Internazionale - Serie A
(Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

There is a sense among fans that Lindelof could be a downgrade on Eric Bailly’ physical presence tonight, and that United will miss the Ivorian.

It’s up to Lindelof to prove his doubters wrong, and continue his good run of form which makes signing a new centre-back seem less urgent than it did a few weeks ago.

A strong performance which shuts Zlatan out will be a real feather in his cap. He is under a lot of pressure tonight, and he needs to use everything he knows about his international teammate to keep him quiet.

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