Dimitar Berbatov: Fernandes gives United shot at top four finish

Bruno Fernandes on the ball for United
Berbatov would love to have played with Fernandes

Betfair Ambassador is impressed by Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial, backs Jose Mourinho to succeed at Spurs and hails Pep Guardiola's achievements at Man City...

"I would have enjoyed playing in front of Fernandes because, for a striker, you are always willing to make runs when you know you have somebody in midfield who can find you with a pass."

Manchester United gave a solid performance against Watford last Sunday and were deserved 3-0 winners. So far this season, they've often performed well against big teams and struggled against sides lower down the Premier League table. But beating Watford, after the 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, should give United momentum which is great for the morale around their camp.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will also be pleased that it was his team's third consecutive clean sheet in the Premier League and their fourth in five matches in all competitions. Since being made permanent club captain, Harry Maguire has grown in stature and that's rubbing off across the defence. They will need to maintain that discipline when they go to Everton on Sunday for what should be their toughest test for a few weeks.

Martial is a special player

The big plus for United against Watford was the performance of Bruno Fernandes who was outstanding. I was impressed by the way he took responsibility and stepped up to score his first United goal from the penalty. And the style he took it with showed that he has the confidence to succeed at United.

Solskjaer  Clapping 1280.jpg

I also loved Anthony Martial's goal. It was an unbelievable finish and that's what Martial is all about - saving himself for the key moments when he can produce something truly special that fans will talk about afterwards.

Fernandes is a striker's dream

It will be difficult for United to finish in the Premier League top four but, with Spurs and Chelsea performing inconsistently, it is not impossible. United look like a different team with Fernandes always looking to get on the ball, drive them forward and play the strikers in.

I would have enjoyed playing in front of Fernandes because, for a striker, you are always willing to make runs when you know you have somebody in midfield who can find you with a pass.

As well as his creativity, Fernandes has a good shot on him. The only aspect of his performance that he needs to work on is his aggression in the defensive part of the game but that should come as he gets more experience in the Premier League.

Mourinho must show players he believes in them

Spurs' difficulties under Jose Mourinho remind me of United under Solskjaer last season - a strong start before results tailed off. I haven't lost faith in the Portuguese and we must remember that Spurs have had terrible luck with injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, so I'm still backing Mourinho to succeed at Spurs in the end.

Spurs players are feeling the pressure. Their fans have got used to qualifying for the Champions League and, although the race to finish fourth in the Premier League is still wide open, the players known this season will be considered a failure if they don't make it.


Mourinho should speak to his players, especially the youngsters, and reassure them that he believes they're good enough. After that, it's up to the players to go out and perform.

Some Spurs fans think their team has become defensive under Mourinho. As a striker, I want to watch attacking football but a manager's first priority is for his team to not lose a match. If Mourinho can tighten up Spurs defensively then he will use that as the platform to build a team that is exciting to watch as well as hard to beat. But it takes time.

Guardiola sets his own high standards

Along with Mourinho, Pep Guardiola is the greatest coach of the last ten years. Yes, his Manchester City team haven't been as good this season as they were in the title winning campaigns of the past two years, but his achievements in English football are outstanding.

Wednesday's win against Real Madrid in Champions League showed why City are favourites to win the competition. This isn't a great City team but winning in the Bernabeu is always very difficult, especially coming from a goal down.

If City win the Carabao Cup final against Aston Villa on Sunday, it will be the third season in a row that the Blues have won the competition and their sixth trophy under the Catalan. I love how seriously he takes every match and every competition.


I said earlier this week that it's ridiculous to even mention failure when talking about Guardiola. That was in response to the suggestion that his time at City can be considered a failure if he doesn't win the Champions League with them. How can any of us judge a manager with such a stunning career record?

Guardiola achieved extraordinary things at Barcelona in his first job, winning the Champions League twice, so he sets his own high standards. His City teams have been a joy to watch and he will be determined to regain the Premier League title with them next year. It will be fascinating to see what changes he makes to his squad in the summer.

New on Betting.Betfair – Betslip

You can now bet without leaving Betting.Betfair with our brand new on-site betslip for Exchange markets. You'll see the Exchange back and lay prices at the end of articles - simply login and place your bets as you would do on the main Exchange site

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles