Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov: United must build on magnificent defensive performance at Anfield

Betfair ambassador Dimitar Berbatov
Berba does not expect United to make many signings in January

Betfair ambassador Dimitar Berbatov praises Manchester United's defenders, discusses January transfer rumours and reveals what it's like to have Sir Alex Ferguson serve you turkey...

  • United deserved their point at Anfield

  • Keep faith with Hojlund and goals will come

  • Xmas dinner with Sir Alex was great tradition


United had the best chances at Anfield

It was a good result if we're comparing it to the last two games before that. Liverpool were pushing and trying to break the Man United team down, but in reality, the two clear chances fell to Man United. One to Alejandro Garnacho and one to Rasmus Hojlund.

I was jumping out of my seat. These two chances were based on good football. Liverpool were pushing to score more, but United had the better chances so I think 0-0 was a fair result.

The concentration was there from United and the defence was very compact. Jonny Evans and Raphael Varane were great. Luke Shaw was magnificent.

Everyone should be pleased with the defensive performance. The way Man United set up in this game was justified and in the end a point was welcome for the team.

United need to stick by Hojlund

Hojlund had a great opportunity to score against Liverpool, but Allison is a great goalkeeper and he shortened the angle. Hojlund did nothing wrong in that attack.

Of course his goal drought in the Premier League is worrying. It will be playing on his mind but he needs to keep going and goals will come. At the moment Rasmus needs support from everyone around the club because you can see he's trying hard to score.

Some people are saying that United should look to bring in another striker in January to take some pressure off him. Doing that can go both ways. In what way can another striker help him? And what will the other striker's role be? Is he playing ahead of Hojlund? It would get complicated.

It's about the manager continuing to trust Hojlund and that's something I see Ten Hag doing. Rasmus also needs to continue trusting himself that the goals will come.

The major worry is that if it continues for too long, it could damage his confidence. It's a tough situation so I hope he can start scoring as soon as possible. United have to stick by him because he's a young lad and it would be a pity to give up on him so early in his United career.

Van Dijk's frustration was understandable

Straight after the game when emotions are high and you're disappointed, as Virjil van Dijk was after Sunday's draw, you'll probably say something that you later regret. I can understand it. Liverpool tried to use their home advantage and United were the more defensive side but who can blame them after the last couple of games.

In all fairness to Roy Keane, he's always critical of United players when he needs to be and when he needs to defend the team, he'll do that as well. He was right in saying that Liverpool have only won one league title in 33 years.

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Van Dijk has a right to express his anger and disappointment after the game and Keane was right to express his views. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

Scott McTominay deserved the armband

Marcus Rashford was sick in the week, along with Antony Martial, so dropping the England forward was justified. But even if he wasn't sick, it's still the manager's decision because Rashford has been out of form. When he came on, he didn't do anything spectacular.

Giving the captaincy to a younger player who is out of form can help them but in this case it was given to the in-form Scott McTominay and he was fantastic.

There are a lot of similarities between Scott's situation and Marcus Rashford right now.

He was struggling and no one knew if he was staying at United in the summer. Then all of a sudden he scored a few important goals, including his match-winning brace against Brentford, and he kept pushing to start. He's now captained the team so maybe Rashford can see how McTominay has turned around his situation and take something from it.

Scott knows exactly what he needs to do. Fight for the team, sacrifice himself for the team. He's the type of player every team needs. Without players like him, teams can't go on to do big things, trust me.

Giving McTominay the armband will elevate him mentally. It will allow him to think more seriously and take more responsibility. It will build him into a better man and player.

The pressure hasn't eased on Ten Hag

If Man United lose the next game, they've achieved nothing by getting a draw against Liverpool. The next two games against West Ham and Aston Villa will be really tough. If Man United lose against West Ham, it'll just be the same old story.

I think United will be ok at home to the Hammers on Saturday, based on the performance against Liverpool, but Ten Hag's team need more good results otherwise the comments and rumours regarding his future will be back again.

I don't expect United signings in January

There have been so many injuries this season and with all of those players set to come back I don't see any major recruitment happening at United in January.

If there is to be any transfer business it's likely to be players leaving the club. There are a few players that are at a point in their United career where it would be best for everyone if they moved on.

I can understand if Jadon Sancho leaves. He needs to find answers to his situation because at the moment it's helping no one.

I forget that Donny van de Beek is still a United player. His time at Old Trafford has been a nightmare for him and he needs to leave as soon as possible.

I don't expect anyone else to be signed or sold in January unless there's a really good deal to be had.

Festive football is special when Sir Alex serves you Christmas dinner

I enjoyed playing football around Christmas when I was in England. I don't remember ever playing on Christmas Eve though!

I really enjoyed this time of year and a lot of players feel the same. The family probably doesn't like it, but at the same time, you do what you love. You try to win these games and entertain. If you do that, your holidays will be even greater.

We had lots of traditions at United. Sir Alex Ferguson and the staff would get all the players together and serve us Christmas dinner. We had banter, jokes, a cracking time.

An English Christmas dinner was a new experience for me. There was plenty of food, although it wasn't all to my taste to be honest.

You had a menu prepared by the chef. Normally it was roasted potatoes, turkey, some other vegetables and salad. We never had pigs in blankets! You ate and took the p**s out of the staff. Never the boss though!

It was great fun and a wonderful moment to show camaraderie. It built the team spirit. I loved it.

The other tradition was that, after you had your lunch with the boss and staff, the academy players put on a bit of a show.

They would make fun of the first-team players. They'd pretend to be one of us or show us what some of us were doing on the pitch or the way we spoke - it was so fun. You needed thick skin to watch yourself being played by someone else. It was great.

They took the p**s out of everyone: me, Wazza, Ronaldo, Rio. You need moments like this, for someone to humble you because you knew it was just fun.


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