Dimitar Berbatov: Sacking Solskjaer won't solve United's problems

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Berba says Solskjaer should be given more time

Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov slams Manchester United for their Champions League exit, praises Spurs, says training with Ronaldo was war and backs Bulgarian boxer Kubrat Pulev...

"The players and everyone at United will be wanting to correct their mistakes this weekend when they come up against Man City. They will have their team talks and training sessions to get them back in the right shape of mind."

Manchester United's exit from the Champions League was a big disappointment to me. The players have no one to blame but themselves. No one will be happy but we hear this after every loss. It's the same disappointment over and over again.

If you want to compete with the best, you cannot go 3-0 down in a big game. Yes United never give up - that's in their DNA - and they almost pulled off a remarkable comeback, blah blah blah. But to go 3-0 down in a game of that magnitude speaks volumes about what is going on a the club.

Sometimes it's not about tactics and how the team is playing. United should know how to react to different situations in a match. That is why you have your captain and experienced players. But over all Leipzig were by far the better side. They were organised, they had a clear plan and they knew exactly how to play. They really exposed United's defence, it was a real lack of concentration, of desire, tactical awareness and of pretty much everything.

When you go 3-0 up you deserve to go through and when you're down 3-0 you deserve to go out.

United shouldn't dismiss the Europa League

The game in Istanbul was the point when United's Champions League campaign fell apart. If United had won that game, which they should have done, then they would have progressed. But it is what it is, I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot these days about United's bad defending. When you don't know how to defend, players will expose you and you will suffer.

The Europa League instead and for me that competition should be up there with the others in their list of priorities. They are sixth in the league now, although they are climbing up the table and still have a lot of games to play. They have a chance to surprise people by making good on what they have in front of them to play for. People should take the Europa League seriously because at the end of the day it's a trophy that a team can win, I'm sure when United won it last time the feeling was great.

Solskjaer still needs more time

I don't think Solskjaer's job is in trouble. I read recently that Ed Woodward is backing Ole in the long term, they have a number goals for the team and they are working together.

Paul Pogba, Manchester United.jpg

I don't think the situation is severe enough for him to be fired. Every bad result brings up questions about Solskjaer's future. . It makes me wonder how he takes all of this - every morning opening the newspaper and seeing journalists asking, will this be his last day in the job? it's not good. At the moment, I still think the club have his back.

Beating City would be perfect way to bounce back

Of course, the players and everyone there will be wanting to correct their mistakes this weekend when they come up against Man City. They will have their team talks and training sessions to get them back in the right shape of mind.

Ole has a good record against Pep Guardiola but it is going to be a tough match. United are doing fine in he Premier League and have done really well to climb the table recently. Beating City on Saturday would be the perfect way to bounce back from losing to Leipzig.

For me, the Manchester derby that always stands out in the memory is the one when Michael Owen scored the winner in the last minute. That was a massive goal, it was a big win for us and I remember everybody going completely crazy. It hurts to be beaten in the last minute, but when it is in a derby it hurts even more. It was a great feeling because Craig Bellamy had just scored a wonder goal for City and it looked like it would be a draw. But United never give up.

The Manchester derby never used to be as big as it is today. We knew that we had the better players and with concentration and focus we would win the game. Sometimes we won and sometimes we didn't, but we always knew we were the better team.

Mourinho keeps Spurs calm and chasing the title

Spurs' win over Arsenal was priceless. They showed their authority in the game, they showed that they are here to compete this season for the Premier League title. Beat your rivals in a derby fills you with confidence and, as long as they keep putting points on the table, their confidence will only grow. The only question will be if they can sustain the pressure and handle the pressure that comes with being at the top of the table.

I've been there, at the top of the table, with the pressure and expectation, and it always helps to have a lot of talks between the players, the gaffer, the staff. You have to think and prepare mentally, knowing that difficult games are coming and that you will probably drop points at some point. If that happens you must be ready to bounce back and stay strong. Sometimes, luck is involved. You don't know if you're doing things right until the race is finished. It's a combination of different things that you need to do to make sure you have a winners' medal at the end of the season.

Mourinho counting 1280.jpg

Jose Mourinho is doing a great job of deflecting the attention away from the team and putting it on him. He's playing their chances down and that helps. If you're clever enough, you can see through this and know that Mourinho is thinking about the title. Spurs need to stay calm and believe that it's possible for the to win the Premier League. In Mourinho, they probably have the best man to do it.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the ultimate professional

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against Barcelona and there can be no doubts over how competitive he is. He always wants to win. We will see other players in the future with that similar drive to win. I think Kylian Mbappe is getting close to the top level. He has a great future ahead of him. When the time comes for Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to hang up their boots, however, we will realise even more what kind of exceptional athletes they were.

I was lucky to play alongside Ronaldo for a season. He was a 100% professional, on the training pitch and off it. I don't remember him ever being late for training. He was always preparing in the gym, after training he would stay and do extra work like working on his shooting, then he would go swimming and go to the gym again.

You could see how competitive he was by just looking at his training schedule, he trained so hard, he was determined to be better than everyone else. You could also see it in the small training games we had or in matches if he missed a chance or the side was losing, he was always determined to be a winner. We all had this side to us, that's why we played for United.

Training sessions were like a war sometimes, people in that squad hated to lose, it was a great environment to feed determination and hunger to win. Away from the pitch, Ronaldo would make jokes, he'd laugh at himself and he was friendly to everyone. I remember at the players' Christmas party he was fun, one of the boys, but he didn't drink and that was him all over - totally focussed and professional.

Don't underestimate Pulev against Joshua

People in Bulgaria are getting excited ahead of this weekend's fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev.

It's great to see that fans will be there, it's a big moment for Pulev again because he had his chance in the past against Wladimir Klitschko, but now he has a second chance and hopefully he's going to take it. This is probably the biggest ever fight for him and he will be well prepared.

Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev.jpg

He can be the stone that trips Joshua up. I've read that Joshua is already planning his next fight and is looking to fight Tyson Fury. But Joshua should be careful of Pulev and shouldn't underestimate him.

If Pulev wins then it will be a great achievement. We're a small country and we have never had a boxing heavyweight champion of the world. I bet that will be in his mind when he steps into the ring, but he should just put that aside and concentrate on the fight.

The whole of Bulgaria is behind him and I believe he can cause an upset this weekend. I'm going to be watching and he has my support.

**
Dimitar had some harsh words for Paul Pogba's agent after comments made prior to the Leipzig clash - check out his exclusive reaction here

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