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Dimitar Berbatov tell Manchester United where to strengthen their squad

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has stated that the club needs to strengthen their squad this summer in order to better perform in the Premier League and beyond next season. The Bulgarian suggests that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should pay particular attention on the defence. United have not had a terrible season and at times, it could well have gone that way. Since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, the club has been very different, seemingly turning the season around.

United were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League on Sunday after being beaten 2-1 by Sevilla in the semi-final, with the club setting up a Friday night final against Inter Milan. United already earned UEFA Champions League football by finishing third in the Premier League, coming back from 14 points behind Leicester City at one stage of the season, finishing four points ahead of the club, which finished fifth in the league. Despite not winning a trophy, it was a better season for United than expected.

Victor Lindelof’s defending was questioned after Sevilla scored their winner against United on Sunday which led Berbatov to question the defence at the club as the area that could do with strengthening a bit more than other areas on the pitch, although it is not the only area that needs strengthening. Sir Alex Ferguson once said “attack wins you games but defence wins you titles“. Solskjaer will have an idea of what he wants to do this summer and United are seemingly still chasing Jadon Sancho. Speaking to Betfair and reported by The Mirror, Berbatov said:

“The defeat showed that United need to strengthen their squad this summer. They need a centre-back for sure.

“Midfield and up front seems to be ok. Paul Pogba looks likely to stay and I would like to see Scott McTominay get back in the team.

“But United need more depth, Ole made his first substitution very late last night when things weren’t going well.

“It does show he trusts his first XI a lot, but maybe it shows he doesn’t trust his bench so much.”

United have been linked to many defenders already this summer with Nathan Ake, who has now signed for Manchester City, Gabriel Magalhaes, who seems to be linked between Arsenal and Napoli, Pau Torres, who was linked to the club a matter of weeks ago with nothing more since and even Kalidou Koulibaly, who is linked to City. United might pull something out of the bag and sign a central defender, especially if Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo all depart from the club. Berbatov also spoke about Scott McTominay’s situation at the club, saying:

“There will be lots of games next season, and they need to have the squad to be ready. I find McTominay’s situation really strange. He is fit and ready, he got his contract extension, but he doesn’t play.

“Is it because Matic and Fred play really well? I am not sure, but I like him a lot, so hopefully he can pick up the pace next season and get back into the team.”

Solskjaer has a big job ahead of him as the manager of United. He has just completed his first full season in charge of the club, finished third in the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, which will end a positive season which lasted 370 days because of the coronavirus pandemic. This summer though, the club needs to pull something out of the bag and get going with their transfer business. The transfer window has been open since the 27 June, just after the Premier League season came to a close and so far, United have gotten rid of Alexis Sanchez with Tahith Chong and Aliou Traore both heading out on loan.

Written by John Walker

Dimitar Berbatov feels this midfielder needs to put in extra effort moving forward

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has stated that midfielder Scott McTominay needs to put in the extra effort if he is to force his way back into the clubs starting XI. At times this season, McTominay has been a true professional and in a period that saw Paul Pogba out of action for much of the season, was playing a lot of football. However, since the restart, the form McTominay had has gone. Criticism is something that will always be part of the game and can be warranted.

At the end of December 2019, McTominay suffered from a knee injury which kept him out of 12 matches, returning almost two months later, just before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football. Of course, when he returned, Pogba was still not playing and Bruno Fernandes has been signed and United were playing a better brand of football. McTominay scored that goal at Old Trafford against Manchester City, seeing the Red Devils beat their rivals 2-0 in the league, doing the double over them.

The arrival of Fernandes, the return from injury of Pogba and the form of Nemanja Matic has left McTominay on the bench more often than not and since the restart, has not had the same thing about him after he had before the coronavirus pandemic. Whilst the player will be able to force his way back into contention with hard work on the training ground, it will need to be something that happens sooner rather than later with United linked with many midfielders this summer.

McTominay has a good career ahead of him but he will not be happy to remain on the bench most of the time. With better players coming to the club, it will always be tough for others but that is raising the bar and allowing the players the time and grace to grow, fighting for their places in the team, which in turn will raise the game and be good for the club. McTominay is not a player that will accept defeat, he has fought on the pitch and will do so to get back into the team. Speaking to Betfair and reported by The Mirror, Berbatov said:

“It’s interesting to see Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] rely on this 11, and it shows these are the main guys, with some exceptional talent.

“Other players are getting chances, but there is a clear hierarchy now between starters and subs. This isn’t permanent and shouldn’t be.

“Take Scott McTominay, he is on the bench now, so he needs to work very hard to get into the starting XI.

“He needs to stay after training, show he’s willing to put in the extra effort. Ole will see and appreciate this. Scott can do it because he is a very talented boy.”

This season, McTominay has made a total of 37 appearances for United, scoring five goals and one assist which is an improvement from his 22 appearances, scoring two goals and no assists during the 2018/19 season. At 23, the player still has time to grow but seems to be a bit more talented than Andreas Pereira, who has been afforded a lot of time at United, not actually proving anything. McTominay is a player that will fight for a result and has done so this season. He is capable of a lot and will regain his form and challenge the likes of Pogba, Matic and possibly Fernandes.

Written by John Walker

Dimitar Berbatov gives his opinion on Manchester United’s title chances

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov believes that the Old Trafford club can challenge for the Premier League title next season as long as they can maintaining their current form. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were defeated just once since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes during the January transfer window, beaten 3-1 by Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final almost a fortnight ago. United finished the Premier League season 33 points adrift of champions Liverpool.

United went 14 league matches unbeaten since losing 2-0 to Burnley on the 22 January 2020, doing well in front of goal with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both scoring 22 goals this season and Mason Greenwood scoring 17. Key performances from Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes was the catalyst to United’s form on the pitch, grinding the results but running out of steam towards the end of the season with some poor performance because of fatigue.

Based on that, it is imperative that United strengthen the squad this summer as when the best players were removed from the team, United’s second string struggled to get the results Solskjaer needed to guarantee UEFA Champions League football before the last match of the season. In the end though, United achieved what they needed, finishing third in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium just last weekend.

Berbatov signed for United from Tottenham Hotspur back in the summer of 2008 for £28 million with the player leaving the club in the summer of 2012 with Robin van Persie arrived at the club from Arsenal. Berbatov made a total of 149 appearances for United, scoring 56 goals and 27 assists, winning two Premier League titles, one League Cup, two FA Community Shields, and the FIFA Club World Cup. Speaking to Betfair, which was reported by The Mirror, the Bulgarian said:

“It’s been a challenging few years, but the fact remains that United need to be challenging for the title.

“They need to improve again to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool next season, but they can do it.

“Every season is different and has its unique ups and downs, the teams you expect don’t always end up doing well, but with United you always expect them to be title contenders, especially if they make some signings.”

Berbatov also spoke about Fernandes, who has made 20 appearances at the club this season, scoring ten goals and eight assists. Ever since his first appearances for the club, that 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, the 25-year-old has been a class act for United. His drive, determination and leadership was something that United needed and I for one am glad to have him at the club. The Bulgarian passed comment on the player, confirming the good things he has change at the club, saying:

“The team’s spirit changed when he came in, he has blended in really well, connecting the back four and the attack.

“To step up and show that responsibility is huge, he’s been an amazing signing for them. He’s been a very pleasant surprise, because usually one player doesn’t make such a difference.”

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW