Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov: Roy Keane is right, it's too easy for away teams at Old Trafford

Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov
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Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov, agrees with Roy Keane's latest comments, looks back on the draw between his two former sides last weekend, believes Jadon Sancho will be in contention for a space in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Euros and backs Karim Benzema to succeed in the Premier League...

  • Tottenham are in a better place than United for top four

  • United need more aggression especially at Old Trafford

  • Berba discusses Benzema and Henderson movements


Both teams will be happy with the result last weekend

Spurs would've been happier with the result from what I saw. I think the draw was a fair result but Spurs were probably happier. Man United will be regretting the great chance to score in the last minute with Scott McTominay.

Even though the draw was a fair result, Spurs showed more intent with the ball, their passing was sharper and they looked to play the ball forward more. If they play with a bit more sharpness in terms of their finishing, I think they'll be fighting for a spot in the top four.

Man United on the other hand have to improve in the passing department. They have to improve their movement and be better at creating space on the pitch. It's going to be tough if Man United don't find this sharpness that they do possess. Especially the forward players.

Both teams will be fighting until the last game of the season but Spurs are in a better position to finish in the top four.

Pleased to see United's forward chipping in with the goals

I've said before that once Rasmus Hojlund has his first Premier League goal, he needed to follow it up with more. I'm very happy that he scored against Spurs and it was a good goal to be honest.

I hope he'll keep scoring. Aside from his goal, he needs to work on his positioning because sometimes Bruno Fernandes or Rashford have the ball and he's not been in the right place to receive it.

Rashford needed his goal and I hope it gives him more confidence. He can bring so much more to the table with his sharpness and movement. Everyone expects so much more from him and he needs to be a leader. He's one of the longest serving players in that team now so he needs to lead by example.

Roy Keane is right, it's too easy for away teams at Old Trafford

They haven't 100% lost the fear factor yet because teams do still feel the history of Old Trafford and the trophies United have won.

Things are a lot different now though, compared to when I played for United.

The opposition would come down the tunnel and they would lose the game there and then because they saw our team. We had that mix of great players and nasty players. You need that mix.

More than ever, United need players that are confident in their ability, they need to be nasty, like Roy Keane was, they need to sacrifice themselves for the team, they need to argue, scream and yell at their teammates if they need to in order to motivate them.

They need to say, 'this is f***ing Old Trafford, we need to show the opposition what this place is like. If we need to play good football we will, if we need to be nasty we will'.

Sometimes that's the missing link and that's why teams are coming to Old Trafford and they're more relaxed and thinking, 'we can get something here'.

This is how football works sometimes, knowing before games, 'oh my God, I need to face Roy Keane'.

When I went to Old Trafford as an opposition player it was intimidating. When I was a Spurs player and would look on the other side of the tunnel, seeing that United team, I was thinking, 'I'm going to have a difficult game today, so I need to up my game'.

Sometimes if you weren't in the right mind and you were thinking differently, then you were losing the game, but if you had confidence in your ability, standing there next to them, you were going to want to prove yourself because you were playing against great players. If you have big ambitions for yourself then you're going to be up for the fight.

Unfortunately, times have changed and fewer players are going to be concerned about players like Roy Keane or Patrick Vieira. Not only were they great players, they had that dark side to sacrifice themselves for their teammates.

United need to get that aggression back into the team

In the United squad now, I don't see anyone getting close to Roy Keane.

I don't see any players going around on the pitch sacrificing themselves and when they need to, kick people and say, 'this is f***ing Old Trafford, this is my f***ing place'.

That's why I say United's players now are sometimes too soft and friendly with each other and towards the visiting team. They need to get that aggression back a bit more.

I hope Jonny Evans tells them stories about how it was back in the day.

If not, then you adapt to what you have to play other ways. Of course, you can win games and trophies in different ways. It's not necessary to have nasty players in your team, you can win trophies with different players.

But because United are in a position where they need points and teams feel a bit too comfortable coming to Old Trafford, that's why they need this type of nastiness, like Roy Keane, and when you come to Old Trafford, from the first moment, you get the feeling you're going to have a bad day at the office. Someone needs to show opposition players that. United lack that factor at the moment.

Jadon Sancho starting well at Dortmund doesn't mean it was a bad call by Ten Hag

Jadon Sancho came on for Dortmund and got an assist, which is a great way to return to his old club. This is how football can work out sometimes. You can be really good in one league or in a different country, then go to the English Premier League and it just doesn't work out for you.

Dortmund is a good move for Sancho because he's returned to familiar surroundings with friends around him. He's made a good start with them and it'll be great if he goes back to his previous form. But if you're asking me if that'll get him back in Erik ten Hag's good books, I don't think so.

I only see Sancho playing for Man United again if the manager changes.

This move puts him back in contention for England

If Sancho does well at Dortmund, he should be in contention for a place at Euro 2024. For sure.

He's a talent. He has all the attributes to score and assist and that's why, hopefully, with the familiar surroundings he's returned to it will give him the confidence and peace that he needs to start producing again. Then he'll be able to show Gareth Southgate that he's ready and that he can help the national team.

The Euros will be on every player's mind. It's probably one of the reasons he's left Man United and gone back to Dortmund. I've been in Jadon's situation before and all he needs is a run of games to get his confidence back and he'll start to feel reborn.

Sancho does need to be careful though because going back to a place you know doesn't always guarantee success.

Martial needs to find a way to reinvigorate himself, even if that means leaving Old Trafford

Based on his playing minutes, the amount of times he gets taken off during games, maybe there is something going on. Maybe he's not doing everything the manager wants of him. His contract is up in the summer and right now he's not near a place in the starting 11 so I don't think it'll be a surprise if Anthony Martial leaves Man United.

If he is fit then I think he'll be in the match day squads because he'll be another option that Ten Hag can use. It's down to Martial to do what the manager wants of him and if he doesn't then we will see a repeat of the Jadon Sancho situation.

It's down to Martial to assess his situation and find out where he is. If he feels that he's doing everything he needs and if he feels pleased with himself, what is there to say?

Looking from the outside, I saw first hand when I was with him at Monaco, the speed, power and technique he has. Unfortunately I don't think he's used the full potential he had with Man United.

People often judge Martial on his body language and the way he looks on the pitch but that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't enjoy himself. It's time he finds a way to reinvigorate himself because with Ten Hag, he won't play if everyone else is fit.

Benzema would be great for the Premier League

I've seen that Man United may be in the picture for Karim Benzema as well. Someone has told me that maybe they'll try to see what the situation is. I think Benzema will be an interesting addition to any team. He brings a team goals.

Let's see what Man United do in January, but why shouldn't Man United sign him? He brings experience and goals. He's been at Real Madrid before so maybe he's talking to Raphael Varane right now. Asking how training is, how Ten Hag is and what Manchester is like.

Benzema isn't happy where he is from what we've all read and he just wants to play football. He doesn't play for the money anymore, he has all the money already so he is an option for Man United.

United might not be leading the race for Benzema

Despite United being linked, Benzema will want to play in the Champions League and I think he still wants to play regularly. He's very similar to Cristiano Ronaldo in that respect. He wants to win trophies too.

It'll all come down to what Ten Hag says to him but in the end sometimes the Man United brand and badge is sometimes all that needs to appeal to some players.

I think Benzema would get more game time at Chelsea because Nicolas Jackson is still finding his feet and is still missing chances. Also, it'd be in London and sometimes you want your new surroundings to be in a big city like that.

Arsenal would be a very similar move because he'd be able to chase Champions League success. He'd also be able to play regularly because Gabriel Jesus can play out wide. Benzema would like playing for Arsenal because of their style of play.

He has an interesting choice to make but right now he'd probably choose to move to a London club.

I had a great time in Monaco, but I didn't go for the yachts. You need to be clear on why you're going and what you'll bring to the table because you're still a professional footballer. You're not going there for a vacation. You're going to play football. That's why I say I still think he can bring you goals.

In my mind, seeing Benzema, he'd like to play - if not every game - every other game. He's not going to move to sit on the bench. He's going to want to prove how good he still is.

Sometimes things don't always work out for players in new leagues and places

It looks as though things haven't worked out for Jordan Henderson in Saudi Arabia. I am surprised and I'm not. Sometimes, depending on who you are, and how you live your life, it's going to be difficult to get used to a new culture. Even if you're on a good salary, if you still find it difficult to fit in then you're going to feel lost.

If you can get accustomed to the culture and you like it, like Steven Gerrard, who has signed an extension, then things can work out.

With Henderson I'm surprised that he didn't go back to the Premier League. Someone needs to want you so you can go to the Premier League. Maybe no Premier League clubs were asking for him or maybe his loyalty to Liverpool is so big that he didn't want to play for another Premier League club.

Why didn't he go back to Liverpool? Nobody asked for him to go back or maybe they felt let down that he left in the first place? These are questions that only he knows the answer to.

I'm surprised he's gone to Ajax. Ajax are in trouble in the Eredivisie, so maybe they will rely on his experience on the pitch to lead and fight for the team. I'll be curious to see how he copes with Dutch football.

Henderson wants to play his way to the Euros

Henderson, and every English player, who are in contention to be called up to the national team, would like to be part of the Euros squad. This is on the mind of those players and they know they'll need to play.

There are different factors. Even if you play in the Saudi league, you can still play for the national team depending on who the manager is. Henderson has left the Saudi league and with Ajax he'll probably play every game and try to help them. Based on how he performs then he'll have a chance of making the Euros squad.


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