CARSON, Calif. – Fresh off his appearance as an amusement-park fortune-teller on “The Late, Late Show with James Corden,” Zlatan Ibrahimovic peered into the LA Galaxy's future, and he didn't even charge a buck.
“I'll give it to you for free,” the Swedish superstar said following Thursday's training session at StubHub Center. “My vision is very positive, and I see us lifting the trophy.”
Watching the Galaxy over the past month or so, that seems a huge order. LA are 3-5-1, have lost three in a row and conceded 13 goals while dropping five of six games heading into Saturday afternoon's clash at FC Dallas. (3:30 pm ET | Univision - full TV & streaming info)
But Ibrahimovic insists he's up for the task, no matter what it requires.
“It's a new situation for me, absolutely, but I like the challenge,” he said. “It's a different challenge compared to the other ones I had, and I like it, so let's resolve this one also.”
The biggest problem is defense, and a good deal of that is about building chemistry after an offseason rebuild, an early-season injury crisis and a change in formation after Ibrahimovic's arrival in late March. It's correctable.
“I think we [fix] it together,” he said. “It's not only about the defenders. When we defend, we defend with 11. When we attack, we attack with, let's say, 10, so we do it together.”
Why is it happening?
“I think many things are new also,” Ibrahimovic said. “We don't have the luck also, because we score some goals, they took it away [on video review], and [we took] a goal against us which also was decided by [VAR]. It's part of the game, and we work hard, we work very hard, so with a little bit of luck now, get a win, get a second win, so the confidence builds up and, obviously, the things go easier when you win and you have the confidence.
“So probably you make the same mistake, but the only difference is you're winning, so you don't talk about he mistakes as much as you do when you're losing. But we want and we will and it will arrive.”
Ibrahimovic says the key is finding “the small details that make the big difference, so slowly it's getting better," which he admits is a bit of a personal challenge. After all, he says he never lost three matches in a row in Europe, and that he struggles at times to have patience.
“You try to give energy, you try to push, you try to guide, you try to help and be there,” he said. “Be there and play good and give them to confidence they want, they need. So simple stuff. Basic.”
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid says Ibrahimovic's prediction – and his manner of dealing with the challenge – is most valuable.
"The confidence of your leader is important,” Schmid said. “You can will things and you can will things for your team, and that's something that he provides for us. …
“[We're] frustrated, but it's still a team that's very confident. I believe in them as a group, and they believe in each other as a group. But it's just a matter of getting the results to back that up. … There's still a lot of games to go in the season, and it doesn't really matter what you're doing at the beginning of the year. What matters in this league is how you're playing at the end of the year.”