So the dust seems to be finally settling on the criticism about Berbatov’s mishit penalty on Sunday in the semi-final defeat against Everton. There’s no doubting it was a badly hit penalty, but it seems to have unpicked a scab over his performances for Manchester United as his time so far with the Red Devils.
After the protracted courting ritual that saw Berbatov fluttering his eyelids at Sir Alex Ferguson all Summer long to try and engineer his dream move, it seems that for some, Berbatov’s debut season is turning into one long underwhelming performance. For a player that lit up White Hart Lane for two years, it seems as if his less talented twin brother has taken his place or has it really?
Now I’m not one of those Spurs fans that still thinks it’s the mid 80’s and we’re challenging for major honours every season. I’m a realist, I know we can’t compete with the Big Four. It’s tough to take but I can understand when one of our top players wants to join Manchester United, why wouldn’t they. We’ve still not replaced Michael Carrick and when Berbatov finally went on transfer deadline day to join him last August for £30.75 million, I was disappointed but I understood his reasons for wanting to leave. He didn’t go about it in the right way and Tottenham didn’t have a replacement lined up but that’s football these days.
Once he went to Old Trafford, I thought he’d show those United fans just what us Tottenham fans had been spoilt with for his two season at the Lane, with 46 goals and countless assists in his 102 appearances. What has surprised since Sunday is the level of vitriol aimed at the Bulgarian by Manchester United fans and the fact that people seem to be judging his season by that snail paced penalty.
Now I’m not sure just what type of striker people thought Berbatov was before he joined Manchester United, but I do know one thing. He’s no Ruud Van Nistelrooy, he’ll never get you 30 goals a season, but by god he’ll set 30 up for you. For people to start clamouring that he’s one of the worst transfers ever, one of the costliest flops is ludicrous, regardless of his experience of the Premier League, he’s still getting used to being a Manchester United player.
He’s no Juan Pablo Veron scale flop, who’s performances still have me scratching my head and thinking, is that the same player I saw so imperious for Argentina, Sampdoria and Lazio or Chris Sutton hell bound spell when he moved to Chelsea and couldn’t score a goal against the Pensioners, never mind anyone in the Premier League. Even a player of Shevchenko’s reputation failed to set his time in England on fire with just 22 goals in 2 seasons at his stint at the Bridge.
Yet to write him off now is crazy, 13 goals and 15 assists so far this season isn’t too bad a return but I think he’s still suffering from a little bit of nerves. I thought he’d dovetail perfectly with Rooney and Ronaldo this season but its not quite come off yet. Once he gets his first season out of the way and gets a full preseason of training rather than courting under his belt, he’ll show the Unitedites just how good he really is but remember he’s no Eric Cantona, he’s no Van Nistelrooy, He’s Dimitar Berbatov and people need to remember that.
That’s the crux of Berbatov’s problem for me, he needs to be judged on who he is, not who people want him to be.