Saturday 12 September, 12.30pm
Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov says Man United must learn to win when they're not under pressure, praises Jose Mourinho's Spurs and says the Premier League title race is wide open...
"Spurs are winning games like Champions, and their 1-0 win over West Brom was a great example. I am so pleased by the way they're playing."
Last week I said that if Manchester United lost against Everton it would probably be the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign as manager, or at least put even more pressure on him. But once again in the face of adversity United got the three points.
The boys reacted in the best way possible but for me this is the problem. They perform really well in a must-win game but then they go on and have another dip and have to deal with the pressure again. Why can't they just be consistent and perform like they did against Everton every week?
Players still believe in Solskjaer
It's like United need to be under pressure to produce a winning performance. But there's only so long you can operate like that - they won't produce the win every time the pressure is piled on. In the end, it isn't going to finish well if they continue being so inconsistent. The team needs to find consistency and produce good football game after game.
I still think the players believe in Solskjaer and they like him. I think he has their trust and they have his. There's something that just isn't working right in games when they are losing. The problem for me is, sometimes when they don't have the ball they have a lack of mobility to chase and get the ball back.
Overall, though, I believe they're still playing for the manager and they all like each other. But sometimes that's not enough and to be 14th in the table isn't good for United. I hope in their next game - against West Brom in the Premier League - we won't see another dip in form. If that happens then we'll be talking about the same thing again.
No excuses for United - they can't become an embarrassment
This season is different, there are a lot of games in a short space of time. Matches in the Premier League, in Europe and then all of a sudden international breaks, but this cannot be used as an excuse.
United have faced fixture congestion for many years, during my time and even before my time. United are used to playing in the Premier League, Europe and in the cups - we used to win them all as well. There can be no excuses, the situation is the same for everyone else, the performances are just not consistent enough. They need to improve sooner rather than later because other teams will get a head of them and they could become a real embarrassment.
Three subs, five subs - whatever is best for the players works for me
There has been a debate around how many substitutes you can use in a Premier League match. From a players point of view, I understand the need for the debate because we need to protect the players, as there are a lot of games in a short space of time.
On the other hand, for the big teams with big squads, having the option to bring on five quality players could be an advantage over the smaller teams. Liverpool have a big squad fully of quality, but teams like Sheffield United or Burnley don't have the luxury of having five world class players to bring on from the bench.
The health and wellness of players is the most important thing, so if giving teams five subs will help to stop so many injuries then I am for it.
Another thing we have to consider is the view of the players, trust me, no player wants to be substituted, ever - unless you are the player that is coming on! You see how players react when they are subbed off, nobody likes to be taken off the pitch. If, all of a sudden, it goes back to five subs, players will be worried and they won't want to be substituted.
I get where Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are coming from, when they demand five subs, especially when you look at the injury list. At the weekend, Klopp and Guardiola's teams faced each other and even though the managers have been demanding five subs, both of them only used one sub in that game, so you can say they're being a bit hypocritical, who knows what their real intentions are, maybe they would like to have the choice of five subs and if they use them or not is down to them. Let's not forget the Premier League season is long and we're only eight games in.
Consistency key to Spurs' title challenge
Spurs are winning games like Champions, and their 1-0 win over West Brom was a great example. I am so pleased by the way they're playing. If you win a game 1-0 or 6-0 you still only get three points. I'm certain that Jose Mourinho will be very happy right now, not only because Spurs got another win but because the defence was solid and Harry Kane scored his 150th goal.
These types of results make you champions. Spurs are flying and hopefully they can build on it and continue to collect points. In the past, we have seen them do really well early on and then drop off, hopefully that won't be the case this time and they are going to challenge for the title.
Mourinho is telling the players what he wants from them and we must give him and the players credit. They look like a different team to last season. Why? I can't quite put my finger on it, sometimes things just click and work out, they have their manager in charge, their way of training, how he talks and motivates them, how they take his advice and so far things are going well. But it is still very early. I would like to see Spurs continue on this path they are on, consistency and belief that they can do something this season.
Outsider could win Premier League this season
This season's title race is going to be unpredictable. Look at where City are, there's a good chance that something unexpected will happen this season. Leicester are top and there could be another against all odds story brewing here. I'm sure a lot of people would like to see a story like that again. The big thing, though, is that with so many games, teams will need to know how to spread their resources throughout the season and get their priorities straight. The one that's keep their team freshest throughout the season will be the winner.
Hopefully, Leicester will keep up with the tempo and so will Southampton who are doing really well and going under the radar with the same record as Spurs and Liverpool. There's a long way to go and we've already seen plenty of ups and downs. Aston Villa were first then suffered two defeats before bouncing back with a brilliant win at Arsenal. Everton were flying in first and then lost three in a row. If you want to stay top, you need consistency.
This could be Atletico's year in La Liga
We might also see a few surprises in La Liga this season. Things aren't going well for Barcelona or Real Madrid, so the opportunity is there for another team. Real Sociedad currently top La Liga but Atletico are only three points behind and have two games in hand.
Luis Suarez is proving to be a great signing for Atletico which isn't surprising. The manager Diego Simeone has been there a long time and knows the club inside out. So this could be their year. Don't rule out Madrid or Barcelona as they could bounce back later in the season. Personally, though, I'd like to see another team triumph.
Saturday 12 September, 12.30pm