Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov reflects on Manchester United's disappointing derby loss to City in the EFL Cup and says that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must stay cool under justified criticism...
"I can imagine that Ole is angry at the moment and I'm sure he'll show that in the dressing room, but sometimes you have to stay cool, professional and polite to show that you are in control of things."
Derby day disappointment
Honestly, after that first leg against City I feel like s**t. The first half was way below standards, it was not good to watch, the team was all over the place and City were the better side for sure - everybody saw that.
In the second half there was a bit of an improvement on all fronts, but it was not enough and when City score three goals against you to change the game is next to impossible, as we saw. The only thing good about it is that there is another game and hopefully they have time to take something from it and show a better account of themselves.
I have seen a lot of people saying that the first half was the worst they've ever seen United play, I don't want to jump to conclusions, but it wasn't good. Honestly, City should have scored not three but five goals. Sterling not being in his best moment to finish a couple of chances in front of goal was a good thing for United. I think the outcome was more down to how poor United were in the first half and not necessarily how good City were.
Hopefully, they will recover for the next leg, the real problem is that we are seeing too many of this kind of performance, of course it's not every game but we are seeing it more than we want to, even if it's just a poor spell in a match, the fans don't want to see it.
Solskjaer criticism is justified, but he has to stay cool
It doesn't matter who is in charge, every manager in this position, producing the same results, is going to get criticised. It is the easiest thing in the world to do, everyone can criticise. Sometimes, you need to take it and try to figure out where you have gone wrong and sometimes it's not necessary.
The manager needs to stay positive and give that vibe that everything is okay and that he has it under control. I can imagine that Ole is angry at the moment and I'm sure he'll show that in the dressing room, but sometimes you have to stay cool, professional and polite to show that you are in control of things.
Rashford needs to be strong with teammates
It was another great goal from Rashford and a really fast counter attack. United have some very quick players and they didn't take advantage of that. The only trouble sometimes is that the quick players want the ball at their feet and they are not using the space in front of them, but when they try to use the space and make a run the midfield players are not seeing them and not giving them the ball. If I am as quick as Rashford and make three runs and nobody sees me or gives me the ball, on the fourth one I wouldn't waste my energy, it's all psychological.
When I was playing, Sir Alex would say "Give Berba the ball, and when you give it to him, don't stay, run, because he's going to find you." You need to know your team mates, who is going to pass you the ball and who is going to make the run, these kinds of things are small details but they are the most important.
Rashford needs to be strong with his teammates, if he needs to have an argument on the pitch or shout 'f*****g give me the ball,' do it, it doesn't matter, you need to show character and have that will to win. Argue or fight, it doesn't matter if everything is for the purpose of winning the game, you f*****g do it.
United are in capable hands if Young goes
The transfer window is open and already there is a lot of speculation flying around, the latest being the future of Ashley Young.
When you start to change different players and you prepare to lose someone, you need someone to step up as a replacement. Wan-Bissaka he has been outstanding, the way he defends, intercepts the ball and goes into tackles is great, and he's still young so he has a lot to learn but he has already proven to be the perfect replacement, so if the club do sell Young to Inter, I don't think they need to worry about it with Wan-Bissaka at the club.
I really like him and it's great that United bought him, he has a bright future and now he needs to stay concentrated, be persistent and work hard like every player. With the speed he has and the way he recovers the ball, you can really see how precise these details of his games are and if he continues this way I think he'll be at United for a very long time.
Spurs should go for it this transfer window
Under Mourinho so far, Tottenham have produced some good games, and some bad ones as well, but it is still early, and the manager needs time to implement his ideas. Now that the transfer window is open there are questions about what they will do, especially with some of the injuries they have. It was another blow to hear that Moussa Sissoko's will be out for a while, he's been great for Spurs and with Kane, Ndombele and Lloris also injured, they have some big problems that they need to attend to.
How are they going to fix things - the transfer window is open, are they going to buy someone or are they going to continue with the squad they have. I'm curious to see what happens, but if there is someone out there in the market who can fill the gaps they should go for it, definitely.
The Betfair Trader's View - Alan Thompson
Spurs v Liverpool (Back Bet)
Jose Mourinho’s side have failed to win any of their last three games, all of which have been away, but against the likes of Norwich and Southampton you would expect better. Add to that they were held to a draw in the FA Cup last weekend against Middlesbrough despite fielding a very strong side. Jurgen Klopp by contrast can do no wrong at Liverpool after a side made up largely of youth players managed to beat Everton last weekend. So after being able to rest the vast majority of his starters he will be able to revert to his strongest side for the trip to North London.
Spurs had to come from a goal down against Brighton on Boxing Day to secure the points and that was after being beaten 2-0 by Chelsea just before Christmas. Mourinho's men haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last seven starts in all competitions.
The Reds are looking to extend their incredible unbeaten run in the Premier League to 30 games with another victory here and they are 5/71.71 to pull it off. They have scored in each of their last 13 Premier League away days and on more than one occasion in 11 of those games. Spurs' failure to score against Chelsea was the only time in their last eight home starts that they failed to register. Despite no Harry Kane for the home side there could be goals at both ends.
Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 goals are both trading around the 5/71.69 price. I will be backing Liverpool to win and Both Teams To Score at anything around 5/23.5. I will also be having a little saver for that stake on the Correct Score 1-1 at 9/19.8.
Aston Villa v Man City (Lay Bet)
Villa were 1-0 up against Liverpool at home in November until the Reds struck twice in the final three minutes to take all three points. The Villains could cause this extremely short Manchester City side some problems at Villa Park this Sunday.
Villa have won two of their last three in the league as well as drawing away at Leicester in the EFL cup midweek. They have only failed to score at home once this season but they are without their Brazilian forward Wesley for the rest of the season and that could see them without a recognised striker in this match.
Manchester City made it four wins in a row after beating local rivals United midweek and scoring three goals in the process. I am sure the away team will get the points here but at 2/91.22 that may present some opportunity in the Asian Handicap market. Currently Man City -2 & -2.5 is around even money and I think there may be value in that.
City have only won three of their 10 away days by a margin of three or more goals this season (West Ham, Burnley and Arsenal) and, while the home side have had their troubles this season, only Leicester have left here with a three goal margin of victory (1-4). I fully expect the Citizens to take all three points, but at the prices I will be laying Man City -2 & -2.5 at anything around 1/12.0.