It's the return of the Premier League and Champions League in the coming week and Dimitar Berbatov is here to share all his thoughts on Man Utd's return in the tournament, as well as Gareth Southgate's snub of Jack Grealish.
"The season is still young, and hopefully they can correct things, but there are a lot of things to correct!"
First of all, I saw that my former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for COVID this week, and I'd just like to wish him well. The guy is a machine, and he will fight this well, and I have no doubt he'll be back to training and back to normal in no time.
If the league isn't broken, why fix it?
I saw that Liverpool and Manchester United presented this 'Project Big Picture' for the Premier League, but I think the league works just fine as it is now. I'm not too sure why the big teams would want to change anything, in my opinion the league works fine.
Based on that, I wouldn't be looking to change anything right now, but usually, at some point in time, things always eventually change so that may be the case with the Premier League now. I understand why they want to try and help lower teams, but I'm not sure if this is the way.
Grealish's time will come
I was a little surprised that
In the end, it's the managers call, and he likely explained the reasons to Grealish. If Grealish continues to play like he has been, he will be one of those established players himself soon, and this won't happen to him. I can sympathise a lot with him, because I've been there, and it can be very frustrating. All he must do is keep doing what he's doing, his stats for creating chances are very high, and he has all the potential to do big things in football. He is probably a bit unlucky to be playing when he is, the depth in the England squad right now is very impressive.
England have a lot of young talent coming through now, and they can achieve things- there's no reason that Grealish cannot be part of that.
Break could do United good
We won't know if the international break was good or bad for United until we see them play. Sometimes, after a really bad performance, you want the next game straightaway, so you can correct your errors, other times it is better to have a break because physically and mentally you are exhausted. We can judge what happens this weekend, but they need to step up quickly.
I see Paul Scholes has gone into management over at Salford for now, I never thought of him as a manager because I always saw him as a leader on the pitch. He was quiet off the pitch until he needed to say something, when he spoke we all listened. It can be hard to tell who is coaching material and who isn't, until they try to do it.
People change, and they grow. Scholes is just interim manager for now, and he is also co-owner, so it is slightly complicated. I'm sure if results are good, he will be in no rush to move on! He will probably enjoy this, because he was manager at Oldham previously and would like to try it again after some complications last time. He is used to a very high standard, and I'm curious to see how he deals with this level of football.
I saw some comments from Scholes and he was critical of Anthony Martial, and my opinion of Martial is well known now. He may never be the out and out number nine, he prefers to come in from the wing, doing his tricks, and drawing fouls.
The only criticism is that he isn't as consistent as he could be. He isn't brilliant in every game, and until he is consistent, it is hard to describe him as world class.
It's what separates the good players from the great ones. You look at Ronaldo and Messi, they scored lots of goals every season for 10 years. When you're at a big club, and you don't perform consistently, you will have critics. We must remember, Martial is playing with 10 men around him, so it isn't just him underperforming. It can be difficult for the type of player that Martial is to stand out when he isn't getting the support from around his team, and the poor team performance will make him look worse.
Elite European football is back on the menu at Old Trafford
It's great to see the club back in the Champions League once again, it's where Man Utd need to be. The season is still young, and hopefully they can correct things, but there are a lot of things to correct! I'm looking forward to seeing how Cavani will be used in the team, as a former striker myself I always wonder about strikers at United. I hear he could make his debut against former club PSG on Tuesday, he is their all-time top goal scorer, and that would be very fun to watch.
If he's available, it will be interesting to see how he performs, it's not always so fun to play against an old team. Sometimes you think 'I'd rather not'. That said, there are other times when you have been let down by a club and you say, 'I'm ready, bring it on, I want revenge'!
It will be interesting to see which way it goes if he does indeed play.
It's fair to say he is in the twilight of his career, but even at this stage, there are games when you get the butterflies. Some games are more special, they are emotional, and even experienced players will feel this. When the end of your career is in sight, you want to play as much as possible, because you know there isn't too much time left. Cavani is only 33 however, and he will be fit. He is a lean guy.
He may not be quite as good as his prime, but I have no doubt he can still have an impact. He has scored goals everywhere he has gone, but this is a new league, and new teammates. I think one of two things will happen- he either hits the ground running immediately, or he will be a slow burner. The guys at United will want to help him straight away, they will want to feed him goals. Again though, if the team is not performing well, strikers usually won't score, so he needs the other 10 guys to start playing too. I hope he can hit the ground running, because United not only need to defend better, they need to create goals, and quickly.
Spanish press shouldn't forget De Gea's record
I saw David de Gea made a mistake for the national team against Ukraine, and the media went after him again. I don't understand the witch hunt against him, he is a guy that has performed consistently for club and country for many years, and now when he is in a sticky patch, they come after him. It is the same in Spain and England against him, the media seem to want his head. People have short memories in this game, and I sympathise with him a lot. He probably thinks to himself 'what the f**k is going on here'.
It's good to see his coaches defend him publicly, and privately, I am sure he knows that he has made mistakes, he is not a fool. There seems to be a weakness in him right now, where every game you feel like he might make a mistake, and it is not nice to watch. No player has ever completely escaped criticism, sometimes fair, sometimes unfair. The private chats with his manager will help him, the questions about his personal life asked privately might be able to find the source of the issue. I will always defend him, because I know just how good he is as a goalkeeper.