Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov: United must go to Anfield believing they can win

Betfair ambassador and ex-Man Utd star Dimitar Berbatov
Berba says there is always hope for United when they play Liverpool

Dimitar Berbatov has strong words for Manchester United after their Champions League exit and says they must produce a better performance against Liverpool on Sunday...

  • United should feel embarrassed by UCL campaign

  • Liverpool trip can be fresh start for Red Devils

  • Rooney has the mentality to succeed as manager


United deserved to be knocked out of Europe

Of course, it's disappointing for everyone to finish below Copenhagen and Galatasaray in the Champions League. The performances based on results were not good enough. No European football for Man United is bad because Old Trafford is about European nights.

They weren't good in the Champions League and they deserved to go out. Some people will be angry because, with all due respect to Copenhagen and Galatasaray, you shouldn't finish last in that group.

Even if you look good and lose, it's not good enough because in the Champions League group stage, you need the points to qualify. It's about the results. Obviously if results aren't there, you'll finish last. Yes, there were games where the team looked okay, played well, but again if you don't know how to continue well throughout the whole game, then you're going to suffer.

The consistency and concentration was not there. So they've finished last in the group and they'll feel embarrassed.

United's fourth place finish is embarrassing

You need to be ready for Champions League football and not be last in your group. You will feel that embarrassment, sadness, disappointment and anger at yourself and teammates for finishing last.

I don't think they were not ready for the Champions League, but if you lack qualities during games, then you'll suffer. It's embarrassing to finish below Copenhagen and Galatasaray.

The team's performance against Bayern Munich wasn't good enough. What can you say as a player in that position? You just raise your hands, apologise that you weren't good enough and go back to the pitch. Football is like this - there is another season, there is another Champions League if you can qualify.

Maguire injury is another blow to United

Losing Harry Maguire is a blow because United already have 13 injured players. They now play Liverpool - it's a tough, tough place to play. I don't think Erik ten Hag has had many days to chill since he's taken the job! He knows pretty well that after Sir Alex, whoever is in that position, it's going to be very tough.

Performances haven't been good, and now you have the injury list, it's trouble. Not long ago, nobody paid attention to Maguire if he was injured. Now because he's playing so well, people are saying 'we're in trouble'. The injury list is a concern and let's hope it doesn't get bigger.

Injuries are result of playing too much

One reason for the injuries may be that players are playing too much. You want to give everything you can as a player, especially near the end of the year with a lot of games, there is a lot of pressure on your body, your mind, and pressure on yourself when you're playing games.

You want to do more than your body can handle and that can lead to injuries. If you haven't recovered in the proper way then injuries can happen. Even if you have problems in your head with stuff going on around you - that can lead to injury.

It's a shared responsibility between the players and medical staff. You need to know how to rest. When you have so many games, you need to know how to play smarter. Spread your power during games, especially if you have so many injuries. There are a lot of factors and you need to be careful.

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Players are under too much pressure to return from injury. It's because football is a business product. Football depends on the TV - and the TV wants to show the best players playing because more people are going to watch. So it's all connected. That's why even if your best players have a knock, they'll still play because they want to play football and because your team need you.

It is what it is. It's like a drug because you love football and you want to play. The TV is chasing the ratings, the coach is chasing the results, the club is chasing results, it's all connected. There are many, many games where people get exhausted. I've been there, I know it. On the other hand, you enjoy it and I enjoyed it. I wanted to play more and more.

I did not feel that anyone was putting pressure on me to play. I could sense if the coach wanted me to play. You put the pressure on yourself for the love of the game. If it's a small injury, it's a knock on your body. It hurts but you know during the game it's going to wear off.

I had moments where I played with an injury, and the injury got worse, and I had even more problems. In these modern times, there are new ways of recovery. Times are changing, inventions are getting bigger and bigger. You can find ways to be ready for the next game.

United should see Liverpool trip as fresh start

I felt like s*** watching the Bournemouth game. United won against Chelsea and then they played Bournemouth at Old Trafford. With all due respect to Bournemouth, United need to win games like this. I was watching the game, and it felt like United didn't have an answer to the way Bournemouth were playing. Then they had Bayern Munich and lost that game.

Now they go to Liverpool. Even with the injury list, losing games means Erik ten Hag needs to answer questions. You are doubting yourself and you're now playing one of your biggest rivals. You are in a type of form that you don't want to be in when you play Liverpool - that's the problem.

Of course, there's hope - there is always hope! Especially when it's a derby. United are coming off the back of two defeats, but when it's a derby you expect the boys to understand what this game is about.

Even though they have lost the previous two games, United still have to believe they can beat Liverpool on Sunday. It doesn't matter how hard it is. The chance is there. Liverpool are the favourites on paper, based on the results, but in games like this, the hope is always there, as long as you don't make stupid mistakes.

Just forget about the last two games. Try to get the positives out of the performances when you play. Just imagine that this is the first game of the Premier League season and it so happens you play against Liverpool, so you go out there and show you're ready for the battle. That's it. There is no big philosophy. Just keep it simple.

It's going to be tough, but United have surprised people before when they've been in bad positions by winning.

I'm happy to see Richarlison scoring

I didn't expect Tottenham to win against Newcastle, to be honest, but it's good to see them entertaining the fans with lots of goals. The Tottenham fans love to be entertained, sometimes they would prefer to have a beautiful football-playing loss than win in an ugly fashion. Tottenham fans like to be kept on the edge of their seats.

From one striker to another, I'm happy to see Richarlison scoring goals too, I know how difficult it can be with your mindset when you're not scoring. Richarlison will be very happy with himself now in the changing room. Let's hope they can continue winning.


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