Jose Mourinho has hit back at criticism of Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Michael Owen, comparing the pair's vastly different goalscoring records for Manchester United.
The former Liverpool and Manchester United striker claimed Ibrahimovic is only a short-term fix at Old Trafford, with problems still mounting for the future.
'Zlatan [isn't] the long-term type of player, a little bit like Robin van Persie,' he said. 'Bought for a purpose, one or two seasons, but at some point Man United have got to find the next Wayne Rooney, buying him at 18, 19, or producing one themselves.'
The Portuguese boss has not been happy with the manner in which certain pundits have taken aim at the Swedish striker this season and defended the 35-year-old by brutally trolling Owen.
'Zlatan will score more goals in one season than Michael Owen in three seasons at Man United," Mourinho told BT Sports.
So far in his time at Old Trafford, Ibrahimovic already has 13 goals in 23 appearances, including a six-game run without netting.
Despite his goals propping United up, Owen believes Mourinho and the hierarchy at Old Trafford must look beyond the short term.
When asked how he responds to Mourinho's criticism of his own goalscoring record, the Liverpool legend said: 'I think my goals were of more value to Man United because I cost about 10 per cent of what Zlatan's on a week.'
United currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, three points outside the European places ahead of a trip to struggling Crystal Palace.
Owen’s spell at Old Trafford was also at the latter end of his career, but under Sir Alex Ferguson, the player-turned-pundit struggled for regular game time.
His most memorable moment in a United shirt was the winner against Manchester City, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already won Mourinho a trophy in the form of the Community Shield.