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How his own team mates see Dimitar Berbatov

Question – Are you sick and tired of hearing what an absolute genius or how utterly useless Dimitar Berbatov is? Those are the two extremes of the many opinions people seem to have of Manchester United’s £31m Bulgarian and it has become quite a boring saga for most of us. Minds have been firmly made up with United fans having plenty to say but what about the people who know Berba better than anyone else, what are the opinions of his team mates?

Both AC Milan and Bayern Munich are now reported to be interested in ending his spell at Old Trafford. If the words coming out of the United camp are to be believed however, those two European giants could be wasting their time. Whenever Berbatov has come under attack he hasn’t had to look far for support. From manager Sir Alex Ferguson to superstar team mate Wayne Rooney, the club record signing has received plenty of in house praise.

After handing Berbatov just 17 minutes of action over the two legs of the Champions League quarter final clash with Bayern Munich Ferguson said “Yes, I still trust him, he is a good player and there is absolutely no reason why we should doubt that.

Dimitar has done well in a lot of games recently but we prefer to play with one striker. When we got the man sent off on Wednesday there was no need to bring a striker on because all we were trying to do was go over the line in terms of defending”

Perhaps the most important opinion after that of Ferguson is the one of strike partner Wayne Rooney. What does he think about playing alongside Berbatov, do they make for an effective partnership? Speaking about the Bulgarian last summer Rooney was highly impressed and is certainly a fan of his  “You can see in training and in our pre season games that he’s looking sharper. He’s looking more determined, tracking back to help the full-backs, he’s definitely working harder and trying to impress.

He’s a brilliant player, a lot of time I get told not to track back and to conserve my energy, stay upfield and save myself for when we are attacking. Berbatov is certainly better when he’s full of energy and getting touches of the ball”

United legend Ryan Giggs gave Berbatov’s signing his seal of approval in September 2008. “Dimitar is quality and definitely a Manchester United player. He’s got that presence being a big lad and he’s a little bit different to Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney in that respect. Hopefully he’ll do well for us and I’m sure that he will, he has added to our attacking options.”

Club captain Gary Neville has played with some of the best footballers in the sport during his 18 year spell at United. He has applauded Berbatov’s displays in the last few weeks “Dimitar’s performances in the wins against Wolves and Bolton have showed fantastic determination, he has played up front on his own in both games.

He was a massive presence running the line for us against Bolton. It has been so important to us that when Wayne has not been playing  Dimi has been outstanding.”

Rio Ferdinand also came to United with a massive price tag. He was impressed with Berbatov’s dogged performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers in March “I wasn’t surprised at Berba’s work rate. To be honest if you look at the statistics you’ll see that he’s one of the hardest runners in our team and that he covers the most ground. He’s a bit languid and whatnot, but he really puts the effort in”

“People see a different side to him but I don’t think that it actually reflects his importance to the team. He’s appreciated by us and that’s the most important thing. I thought he was brilliant against Wolves, for one player to play up front on his own and occupy their back four the way he did was testament to his quality.”

Nemanja Vidic had no qualms about Berbatov leading the line recently in Rooney’s enforced absence due to injury “Dimitar had a great game against Bolton on Saturday. He is a great footballer, he scored twice himself and can set up goals for other players as well. We have a good squad, we just need to believe in ourselves and believe in each other”

Managers, coaching staff  and team mates often see and appreciate different things in players than fans do. It does not mean that one opinion is right and the other one wrong, football is hardly ever as black and white as that. It is interesting however to hear views from a different perspective, views that us fans rarely ever get an insight into.

Is there a place for Berbatov in next season’s Manchester United squad?


No Responses to “How his own team mates see Dimitar Berbatov”

  1. EuanW says:

    Berbatov thrived at Spurs playing in a 4-4-2 as the focal point of the attack. He was never going to socre as many at Utd, think about it – in his two seasons at Spurs he was the main man in a team that scored as many goals as Utd, played equally attacking football, however, obviously conceded more than Utd.

    First season at Utd he had to share attacking play with Ronaldo and Rooney. Within reason, a team can only score a certain amount of goals. If Ronaldo hogs the ball, and Rooney has his fair share, how would Berbatov ever score as much as he did at Spurs? This season, he struggles to play in the 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation.

    It’s this simple – if Utd played a 4-4-2 more often with Rooney/Berbs up front, you’d be seeing better results from him. Look at the games where they did this. Was the last time not when he set up two and scored one ?

    Thats my two cents for what its worth.

  2. Big Boss says:

    I agree with your opinion… But why should Fergie change a winning formula to satisfy one player?

  3. Frank says:

    It’s quite likely that Fergusons intentions when he paid so much money for Berbatov was exactly to use a system as you suggest EuanW, but circumstances have changed. Sir Alex obviously has the right to adapt his formations as he sees fit even if someone like Berba has to suffer the consequences.

    The bottom line is that despite everything that went wrong this season – including that blatant Drogba off side goal which at the end of the day can make such a difference, United are within one single point of a fourth successive title with just three games remaining. It shows that Ferguson has not done too much wrong doesn’t it?

  4. elvido says:

    So will Berba remain an expensive sub to Rooney?

  5. Frank says:

    Not necessarily elvido but the very simple, truthful and blunt answer has to be – It’s up to Fergie, he knows better than any of us.

  6. Patrick says:

    I think the reason that Sir Alex playes 4-5-1 is that he doesn’t altogether trust the strength of out midfield. Once this is strengthened with a playmaker and maybe having Hargo back then 4-4-2 becomes a realistic option. I believe that the way our midfield was overrun by Barca in the CL final has affected SAFs thinking this season.

  7. elvido says:

    I think a mobile attacking front three with a playmaker behind has become a necessity in a lot of the big games and definitely Europe.

  8. EuanW says:

    At no point did I suggest they should change their formation for Berbatov!

    Merely stated what effect that change would have……..



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