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Dimitar Berbatov Continues To Improve

For some players, it can often take a season to settle in to a new club, especially when you arrive with a £30 million price tag around your neck. Sometimes, other aspects can slow the adaption to new surroundings. For Dimitar Berbatov, in his 3rd season at Manchester United, it seems he has finally begun to show Manchester United fans exactly what type of player he is.

Berbatov has had more than his fair share of critics for the first two seasons in Manchester, with accusations on his fitness, work-rate, finishing and waistline all being thrown at him. Despite Berbatov’s fine period at White Hart Lane, he seemed a little within himself whilst starting his Manchester United’s career. 46 goals in 102 games for Tottenham was a phenomenal return for a player experiencing English football for the first time.

It would always be difficult for Berbatov to hit the ground running at Old Trafford. He had moved from a club where he was the fulcrum of the side, the architect. Everything went through Berbatov and it allowed him a freedom of expression that would be difficult to replicate at Manchester United. There he became one of a number of star players, one of the cogs, rather than the engine room. Even the most technical players find that change difficult.

His technical abilities are in no doubt, but it always takes time to adapt to a new system, a new team and a new surrounding. For some people, these things should not be an issue when you cost so much money but as with anything in life, change always takes time to sink in. For Berbatov, it took longer than it perhaps should have for some people.

The new season though has seen Berbatov start with a bang with 3 goals in Manchester United’s first four matches, two of which have been stunning efforts. The deftly crafted lob with defenders baring down on him in the Community Shield clash against Chelsea was a phenomenal finish under pressure. The goal against West Ham United was an astounding scissor kick from a delightful chip from Nani.

Perhaps it’s removing the weight of his international career over the summer that has seen him return refreshed and firing on all cylinders. Berbatov has suffered continual criticism of his international career, but he’s still managed to become the Bulgarian sides all time top scorer in a  side that perhaps isn’t as strong as some of its predecessors.  For some people, constant criticism whilst you are breaking records would seem beyond churlish but that’s football. Some people are never satisfied.

For Berbatov, this season is crucial for both himself and Sir Alex Ferguson. Whilst many dare not criticise Ferguson, Berbatov is a transfer that he cannot hide from the critics. The fee, the players prior success before joining United and the ever constant eye of press coverage make it impossible to sweep under the carpet. This was no Ralph Milne from Bristol City dark days transfer but Berbatov could console himself with the fact that Ferguson will protect his players with an iron resolve and continues to do so.

There is no doubt that this is a critical season for Berbatov at Manchester United but already he is showing he is more than ready for the challenge. Have no doubt if he continues in this form, both he and Manchester United will have a very successful season.

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  1. lauroda

    September 3, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t understand why people are blaming Berba all the time. Sir Alex bought him based on his stats. There is no doubt of his abilities. In one of the seasons he played for Spurs, Robby Keane and Berbatov scored more than 20 goals each, thus making Totenham the best scoring team in the EPL.
    I believe that they are playing him in the wrong postion, or/and his coach instructions are different, hence him not scoring as often as before

  2. elvido

    August 31, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Looks like the Berba fan Club has turned up in full force! No one is questioning his class or talent, but at his age and experience, we should not be looking for improvements. Fact is, he has not done anything to validate his talent and reputation.
    And Nathan, yes the drought is numerical because we are talking about lack of goals and they actually tally those you know. Just because you think the player’s above derision does not make him a good fit in the team. He may be more skillful than most of the players in the team but his job is not to showboat but to score and/or set up goals, which he hasn’t. And it’s “conducive” BTW, which unfortunately going by stats, isn’t. You must be the Bleacher website chappie… No wonder…

    • GuitarearI

      August 31, 2010 at 7:38 am

      It’s funny how the pro-Berbatov propaganda starts emerging at a time when people SHOULD be fitching about Rooney. That was great, let him take a penalty. Maybe they can just go to the EPL and ask them to make every other team play with 5 players to help Rooney through his little slump. Maybe if he was in shape and cared more about the pitch than the party he’d be scoring goals.

  3. olaideyusuf

    August 31, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Is lokin gud dis DAYZ.Da presure need’s to b trashed away,den d BEST of babatv come’s.I believe he wil give da best of is lfy dis season.Trust me.No more disapointment,Cos if he dose is goin.No more STORESsss…

    • Dave C

      August 31, 2010 at 8:56 am

      Fo’ rizzle.

  4. brn442

    August 30, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Don’t know about improving, he is not a youth player. Like the other poster said, Sir Alex shelled $$$ for what he thought was a seasoned, proven, premier league striker two years ago.

    He’s not sulking and has a bit of a work rate – so far – that’s the difference.

  5. SirKev

    August 30, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I’ve been a supporter of Berba’s over the last couple of seasons partially because he was put into pressure situations not of his own making. First when he came over, he was looked at as the replacement for Carlos Tevez. People fell in love with Tevez’s work rate and when Berba brought a more technical game without the immediate goals, he was looked at negatively. Then last year with C. Ronaldo leaving, he was expected to pick up the scoring effort and when he failed to do so and it was Rooney, people complained nevermind that he had a boatload of assists. I appreciate his skilled, cool game and want to see it thrive and I still believe it can.

    That said, I want to see him step up and be in charge in the big games. It is one thing to score against Newcastle and West Ham and another to score vs Arsenal, Chelsea, and the Champions League. Too often, even against Fulham, I’ve seen him disappear. That can’t happen anymore and he needs to take these important games by the scruff and put his stamp on them. If he can’t do that this season, then I’m afraid it will be time to move on and sell him to another club with less pressure.

    I think he can perform in the pressure situations, but he needs to do it now, this year.

  6. GuitarearI

    August 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    At least he got his goals against quality competition.

  7. Ivan

    August 30, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Berba is more talented than any English player who is playing the game at the moment…he is a magician w/ the ball (but not a leader on the field like Cantona, I will be the first one to admit)…Sir Alex must keep his faith in Berba and play to his advantages in the Man Utd system…
    English people keep putting Rooney on pedestal, comparing him w/ Messi and committing such other blasphemies…and that’s why you can’t beat Algeria and there’s a bigger chance of a Martian landing on Earth than England winning the World Cup w/in our lifetime…

  8. Nathan

    August 30, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Also, it takes longer to write “whilst” than it does to write “while”.

  9. Nathan

    August 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Ugh. Three words: Juan Sebastian Veron. Berbatov is nowhere near in the same category. United have played their best football with Berbs throughout the last two seasons. His style and class are naturally condusive to creating goals than finishing them. Having said that, any perceived “drought” the last two years was numerical only and likely just variance. Eff the people who derided his play ignorantly the last two seasons–Rooney trumpeters–and eff the people who jump on the bandwagon now because everywhere they read “Berbatov finally settling in”. It’s a bullshit narrative.

    • Matt

      August 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      two more words for ya: Diego Forlan. All three were/are classy players, but they don’t fit this system.

  10. George

    August 30, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    We need him to be good this season. Bloody Chelski is scoring goals for fun. But to take 2 whole seasons to settle in?


  11. Tulley

    August 30, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    How does scoring the third goal of a 3-0 game against West Ham count as improving? At 30 million, there shouldn’t be a need to improve.

  12. Jeff

    August 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Berbatov is pure class and that is all I’m going to say about that.

  13. UpTheBlues

    August 30, 2010 at 5:56 pm



    August 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Blimey Paul, I know the Gaffer was patient enough to nurture Darren Fletcher for seven seasons before it paid off in a concrete way, but £30M is a lot of dosh and Berbatov has squandered more chances than a eunuch in an Amsterdam knocking shop. His beautiful semi-scissors-kick goal on Saturday against West Ham is a perfect example. He has attempted that same move a good twenty times over the last year before finally executing. Last week against Fulham we saw plenty of breathtaking ooh-ah and assists, but a clear half-dozen chances being squandered? How many times have exciting, express United counter attacks been suddenly reduced to a slow cantering blip by Berbatov’s selfishness? Clearly we are stuck with him because his value has plummeted and the Gaffer would lose face in getting rid of him on the cheap.

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