Ibrahimovic rested because of knee injury

February 23, 2008

MILAN, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is carrying a knee injury and is likely to be rested for Sunday's Serie A trip to Sampdoria.

The Swede has been criticised in Italian media for a lacklustre performance in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat by Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at Anfield.

'Ibra hasn't been at his best for a while. He has a problem with a knee tendon and has been gritting his teeth for a few weeks. This is why I was very disappointed to read a lot of criticism,' Inter coach Roberto Mancini said on Saturday.

'I think we're unlikely to have Zlatan in Genoa,' he told a news conference.

His participation in the second leg against Liverpool on March 11 is now far from certain but Mancini said he wanted to concentrate on the game against former club Sampdoria first.

Inter are 11 points clear at the top of Serie A but seventh-placed Sampdoria are one of Italy's form sides thanks to some top displays from forward Antonio Cassano.

'We have put Liverpool to one side, we can't afford to think about them now,' Mancini said.

'I played for Samp for 15 years, and they were 15 important years. They are fired up and they often win at home, so it will be a tough game. I don't think the pitch is in great condition and then there's Cassano who is doing well.'