Saturday 12 September, 12.30pm
Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov delivers his verdict on the Premier League season and discusses what the top six need to do to improve in 2020/21...
"We should be happy with the work Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done at United. The players love him and that's shown by how they've played."
Ole has made United consistent
I'm happy for everyone at the United after they hit their target of qualifying for the Champions League. They deserve it. They had to beat Leicester and they did it. I'm happy for Ole and the team, this will be huge for the club and for everybody.
There will always be doubters, but overall people will realise managers need time to build. There are obstacles, of course, but in the future things can improve, and Ole has shown that. It will be more difficult now with the Champions League, and you will still get criticism next year when you lose, but for now we should be happy with the work he has done. I think the players love him, and that's shown by how they've played.
He's made United consistent, which they haven't been for so long, and he brought it when it counted the most. They were smart, consistent, and they got results. You can buy players now because everyone wants to play in the Champions League, and Ole has shown what a good manager he is.
United should always be challenging for the title
By default, my opinion is United should be challenging for the title, even when going through difficult periods. It's been a challenging few years, but the fact remains that United need to be challenging for the title. They need to improve again to challenge Man City and Liverpool next season, but they can do it. Every season is different and has its unique ups and downs, the teams you expect don't always end up doing well, but with United you always expect them to be title contenders, especially if they make some signings.
The signing of Bruno Fernandes lifted the team massively. The team's spirit changed when he came in, he has blended in really well, connecting the back four and the attack. To step up and show that responsibility is huge, he's been an amazing signing for them. He's important to United, but important to the players around him also. He's been a very pleasant surprise, because usually one player doesn't make such a difference. United need to maintain this level of consistency.
Spurs have the quality to succeed
In the end, Spurs achieved their objective by qualifying for Europe. They have the quality to go further and Jose Mourinho doesn't go to clubs to finish seventh or eighth either. They will have plans to go better next season, and it will be interesting to see who Mourinho goes after in the transfer market. They have plenty of power in attack, but they need a defender after releasing Vertonghen. They will probably wait to see what happens with Fernandes and Dembele; if they go, they will need players in the middle of the park. Other than that, they have loads of quality to do very well.
De Bruyne, Klopp and Blades shone this season
Kevin de Bruyne is my player of the season. Twenty assists is crazy and the Man City player consistently outsmarted opponents. Left foot, right foot, it didn't matter to him. He was incredible.
Jurgen Klopp is manager of the season, but I will also mention Chris Wilder (see below). What Klopp did was unbelievable for Liverpool's fans and the city at large. He has huge charisma, both when he's serious and when he jokes. He's very honest. The story of him waking up Sir Alex is very funny, it takes huge balls! Imagine how that went: "F***ing hell my son, well done but what time is it!"
The biggest surprise of the season is Sheffield United. No one expected them to play so well and finish ninth. They didn't give a f**k who they played, they bullied teams and played old-fashioned football. They can play good football too, and they put a smile on my face when I watched them.
As for biggest disappointment of the season, there were a few. Spurs were really poor at times and need to finish higher up the table. Aston Villa and West Ham are too good to be fighting relegation. United should have got to the FA Cup final for Ole, but qualifying for the CL makes up for it. The gap between Liverpool and the rest was too big. The other teams need to shake themselves, they all have work to do to catch Liverpool.
Who the top six need to sign
I'm not sure they need to change too much, maybe a centre-back better than Joe Gomez to play with Van Dijk. Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli would be an excellent signing, but apart from that the Reds have an excellent team. I see they've been linked with Thiago, and I like him, but if he comes, who doesn't play so he can start? He can play with Fabinho and Henderson and they will be even more powerful, but I'm not certain they need him.
They need two centre-halves, maybe a left back also. David Silva is going, Fernandinho isn't getting any younger, so maybe midfield needs improvement also. They've agreed to sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth, at 25 he's approaching the peak of his powers. He's excellent at bringing the ball out of the defence, which Guardiola likes, and Ake can do well under his new manager's coaching.
They need a centre-back, maybe a right back also as Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the only option at the moment. It looks like Alexis Sanchez might stay at Inter permanently, which would make room for Jadon Sancho to go to United from Dortmund, and it would be a very interesting transfer.
But who, out of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood or Anthony Martial, makes way for Sancho? If they get the England man and the defenders, they can improve to a higher level. I don't want to see Greenwood dropped at this point while he develops, he could be very special and has earned his chance to shine next season.
They for sure need a goalkeeper and Jan Oblak would be a great option. Timo Werner was a good deal, and Willian looks like he might stay if they win the FA Cup. There are still rumours about Kai Havertz who would be an amazing player for them.
They were a bit disappointing in that final stretch, running out of steam and the consistency just wasn't there. I'm not too sure exactly what they need, but defence would be a good place to start. In attack, Jamie Vardy is the opposite, he's getting younger instead of older! He deserves huge credit for winning the Premier League golden boot, but maybe he needs a backup, or someone to play with him up there. He needs to be in the box as much as possible.
They definitely need a defender to replace Vertonghen. Midfield is up in the air, who is staying and who is going? Mourinho will always want a strong defence, and I imagine he will have a few names already. I have heard the rumours about Philippe Coutinho, and I thought he might be a better player for Arsenal, as Spurs play very direct. The last thing you want as a midfielder is to see the ball go straight from defence to attack and back, so all you get is neck pain! You're never part of the game that way.
Saturday 12 September, 12.30pm