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Fergie: Berba Has Been First Class Since CL Snub

After missing out on a place on the bench for the European Cup final, despite being the league’s top scorer, Dimitar Berbatov confessed he was too upset to leave the dressing room. Whilst there were lots of disappointed players that day, none of them would have been as shocked as Berba was to learn he was missing from the squad.

Sir Alex Ferguson has again explained his decision to leave Berbatov out of the team, whilst praising the Bulgarian for his attitude since.

“It was straightforward last season,” said Ferguson. “Chicharito hit such bloody good form that you had to put him in in every game, because he added so much in terms of threatening defenders all the time. So it was just unfortunate for Berbatov. It didn’t make him a bad player, he was just an unlucky player in that this lad came in. But that’s football and it tells you everything about football, yet at Manchester United we do that better than anyone. A young player come along and emerges and takes the position. Ryan Giggs did it with Lee Sharpe, so what you can do with Sharpey? We tried him outside-right, then left-back. He wanted to move on and went to Leeds, but that’s what happens. But Berbatov has been brilliant, first-class. His training has been terrific and he’s a good type of person. A nice guy.”


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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180 Comments

  1. willierednut says:

    Cedars – :mrgreen:

  2. Zibbie says:

    This dog sleeps, Sorry Cedars for real man I have a sour-full feeling that I offended you so. I get that you have stopped responding to me your call not mine. I said, what I said somethings in hast. I am a man and have expressed myself in the past. No need to take sides. Let it ride.
    Glory Glory to all shads of Red.

  3. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 17:36: “how easy it was for Pique to deal with Hernandez on the high crosses (which are an important part of our game) in the closing stages of the CL”

    From what I recall of that match, the quality of the crosses from ThreeLungPark and AntonioValencia wasn’t particularly great. in contrast, I remember that Chicharito was able to find space among several of the very, very large Stoke defenders to take advantage of his leaping ability and timing to beat them to the ball and score. I think that narrowing the discussion to height is misleading – and I said so and provided a list of almost all the very best strikers I could recall.

    Look at the height issue another way – Ruud Van Nistelrooy was a tall man; Thierry Henry was also about 6’3″ but he only scored three goals (out of 150) with his head; Emmanuel Adebayor is tall but not a particularly good striker; Hernan Crespo was the man who could head the ball with more force than anyone I ever saw but he wasn’t especially tall. So, I think that the jury has to declare a “mistrial” (or at least the Scottish verdict of “not proven”) on the claim that height is a significant factor in a player’s heading ability.

    Now, for defenders the issue is different because they are facing the incoming ball so it only stands to reason that “extra height” would be an advantage but, still, Fabio Cannavaro was only 5’9″ and he did OK.

  4. willierednut says:

    Extra height helps. :lol:

  5. smartalex says:

    Sir Alex considers height when selecting players, squads and line-ups. And so he should.

    Those who cling the notion that height is not seriously considered are selling themselves short.

  6. willierednut says:

    Spoken like a true midget! :)

  7. wayne says:

    Extra penis length also helps

  8. willierednut says:

    Don’t be a cock.

  9. smartalex says:

    These small-time comments that diminish are nothing short of a two-bit minor league.

    See a shrink.

  10. willierednut says:

    Are you being short with me?

  11. smartalex says:

    I wouldn’t stoop to your level.

  12. Sparkz says:

    I’m gonna have to partly agree with Denton on this. Not on the Sandro point, I don’t think we need him, but re Berba:

    As Stateside has said- we need different players for different situations. Berba is more effective against teams that defend deep etc. I’ll make 2 points on that

    1) When you sign a guy for 30mill, you expect him to be a BIG player. And your big players also do the business when the going gets tough, in the high pressure games, when you really need them to step up. And generally, Berba hasn’t done that, there’s no other way around it.

    2) Is it worth having a guy who you know most probably won’t be a first choice- on 90k a week? Yes, he adds a different dimension. And yes he can do the business against the teams lower down in the division (although we should remember that his first 2 seasons saw a relatively poor goals tally). And I would keep him at the club for those attributes I mentioned….if he was on a lower salary. 90k a week for a back up is not clever IMO. Especially if we’re looking to pay big wages to a midfielder who’ll play more regularly, and especially when we’ve got promising young strikers emerging.

    And there seems to be a discussion over height- agreed that height is definitely taken into account in some games. I remember vs Stoke we played Evra in midfield so we could bring JOS in at the back to add height. And vs Bolton, Wes went off with a knock and got replaced by Fabio. So to make up for the height disadvantage we’d now have at set pieces- SAF brought Berba on for Chicharito to even it up again. But….Welbeck is 6 ft 1, so it’s not like we’d lose a tall striker if Berba left, it’d just be a replacement!

  13. Tears you apart says:

    Berb has always been a subject for debate…….. for me the hatrick against liverpool means all united fans owe him some respect.

    I personally cannot look past Chicho and Rooney as number one pairing… then is 2 from four with kiko and welbeck for the future.

    It would let berb go if it was part of a deal for a world class midfielder………

  14. willierednut says:

    Yeah, the Berbatov for Sandra swap proposal, went down like a lead balloon. Must try harder denton.

  15. Zibbie says:

    Girth is what a girl wants, scrape the sides, stretch it a bit. It’s good to be half Italian.

  16. DownTheToilet says:

    Fergie is a fool. Forbes proclaim us the biggest sporting club in the world yet we refuse to match wages of Inter Milan who are where on the list?

    As fans who pay ridiculous money for shirts and tickets why shouldn’t we expect to pay more than inter Milan in wages, we and he certainly shouldn’t be expecting taking him to take a wage cut.

    We have turned into a stingy embarrassment

    Fuck the glazers!

  17. denton davey says:

    WillieRedNut @ 21:03: ” the Berbatov for Sandra swap proposal, went down like a lead balloon. Must try harder denton”

    Why ? I haven’t been convinced by the logic of the comments.

    Let’s try to look at this dispassionately.

    UTD don’t need a 90K/week back-up
    Dimmy still has “residual” transfer value
    IF Berbatov is allowed to be a spare part for next season then he can walk away for nothing.

    Sandro is a 21-year old player with a resume that impresses me:

    he was terrific in his stint at Internationale in leading his team to the Copa Libertadores;
    he did just fine (thank you very much) in his inaugural season at Spurs;
    UTD “need” another midfielder.

    Spurs want to keep hold of Modric so:

    Getting something of value (i.e., Dimitar Berbatov) in return for Sandro would be good for their chances next year since their strikers are not good enough.
    With Huddlestone, Modric, and Palacios, Spurs can “afford” to let Sandro go.

    In any transfer/swap, all sides have to be satisfied that they got what they want. As far as I’m concerned, getting Sandro for a guy on big wages, with diminishing value and unlikely to be a first-choice is a good deal. Maybe not the best deal but pretty, pretty good.

    And, before you jump down my neck, would you rather have Darron Gibson or Sandro as your fourth-choice central midfielder – after Michael Carrick, DarrenFletcherinho, and Anderson ? (Not to mention SirRyanGiggs and ThreeLungPark, who will also play in that role).

    Paying Sandro would effectively cancel out the wages that are paid to Gibson; swapping Dimmy would save 90K per week on wages. The biggest downside I see is that this proposed swap would mean that there would be no incoming transfer fee when Dimmy walks out the door although it could be argued that letting Darron Gibson go would recoup about half of the suggested fee to be had from selling Berbatov.

    So, guys, try arguing with something approaching logic rather than blanket condemnation.

  18. willierednut says:

    There is no logic in swapping Berbatov for Sandro. You can keep dragging this out, but it’s a dead horse. Swap a player, who scores and creates goals, for a guy, who is effectively, a destroyer? Come on denton! For someone like Sanchez, or Sneijder, I could see the argument. Not for Sandro. For all intents and purposes, Berbatov is behind Rooney and Hernandez. But, who knows how Hernandez will fare in his second season? Rooney will pick up his customary injury. Berbatov might get more game time, than people think. The boss seems happy with him as well. Lets wait and see what happens, before we write his obituaries, eh?

  19. smartalex says:

    denton davey

    A lead balloon by any other name may carry more weight.

    If you consider that we have already swapped Scholes for Jones, Neville for Young, and Hargreaves for de Gea; then it would come as no surprise the impending swap of Berbatov for Sandro.

    Otherwise, perhaps it is easier for sceptics to consider selling Berbatov to Spurs, and buying Sandro from Tottenham.

    Unfortunately, plumbate dirigibles are all the rage.

  20. denton davey says:

    WillieRedNut @ 22:40: “Swap a player, who scores and creates goals, for a guy, who is effectively, a destroyer?”

    Look, I know this isn’t going to happen – it’s just an argument/debate/hypothesis. So, thanks for responding and giving some thought to the matter.

    We’ve all been hearing that UTD need to add to their midfield and “replace” both Scholes and Hargreaves – and perhaps, DarrenFletcherinho, too (?). AND, as I’ve tried to point out, sometimes you have to give to get – and what you get should be what you want/need.

    When push-comes-to-shove, I’d like to “get” Daniele De Rossi and Schweini. That isn’t going to happen unless SAF has been hacking my brainwaves. UTD can most likely win the EPL at a canter this coming season with the team that’s already in place – assuming that we don’t have some kind of unforeseen injury crisis or another MartinAtkinsonMoment. What excites me is the prospect of meeting Barcelona again and squaring the 5-game series at one draw, two wins and two losses each.I’m not the only one who wants that rematch:

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/935592/sir-alex-ferguson-wants-barcelona-rematch-in-2012-ucl-final?cc=5901

    To meet what SAF calls “the ultimate challenge” then TheLads need reinforcements in the engine room – the unglamourous realm of the midfield destroyer.

  21. willierednut says:

    It’s debate, isn’t it? IMO, Sandro is a flavour of the month player. You get this, every now and again. I don’t think, he’s what we need at this time. Jones will be Hargreaves long term replacement. A few months back, I thought we needed a box to box type. Now, I ain’t sure. If a player of Sneijder’s undoubted quality, is up for grabs, then lets go bloody grab him! I’m not Rodwell’s biggest fan, but I see we’re 11/10 on to sign him. IF Fletcher is still struggling, by the start of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised if we signed him.

  22. Rai says:

    I wouldn’t see the point in swapping the Leagues leading goalscorer for Sandro, a player who is yet to fully prove himself.

    I agree with the arguments that Jones will become a midfielder, he has all the qualities to fulfill that position. Then take into account we have Carrick who can play as an anchor man, albeit differently to the usual holding midfielder but I don’t see an issue with him playing that position. He doesn’t make lasp gasp challenges because, like Rio, their positional play is so good they don’t need to.
    Tunni is on loan and is one for the future.
    Also, although our good friend Costas has previously pointed out experience may be an issue, I really think Fabio could play as an anchor man. He’s tough, quick, can tackle, bags of energy – literally a box to box midfielder.

    When Fletcher is fit, that position looks after itself between him and Carrick.

  23. wayne says:

    I just love the loyalty some of our fans have to a player who was key in utd winning 19,makes me fucking sick

  24. YorYor says:

    Park has been in and out of the team, does it mean that SAF does not trust him since he sometimes misses out on the big games too? And wasn’t he unceremoniously dropped from the CL final squad in favour of O’Shea, THE JoS who was lambasted left right centre during that period for being slow and unable to pick out a pass?

    Also, for the f’ing last time, we did not miss out on Ozil and Benzema because they only wanted RM. I’m not sure we needed those 2. Villa wanted only Barcelona. VdV was not an option in the swap deal for Ronaldo because RM would’ve probably slapped on a 30m price tag in the swap. I don’t know what some support a club like United for – for the summer season so that they could wish for signings so that the team could play like how their FM team did, or what. Especially for “late” supporters like me who’s seen no other manager than SAF, how in the world could you doubt the greatest living manager? Or would you rather the fat Spanish waiter, or perhaps Roman Abramovich himself as the manager?

    Last insistence – I would be sorely disappointed to see Berbatov leave. He is a phenomenal player – that coming from someone who wasn’t at all excited about his arrival in the first place because I didn’t rate him much. His ball control is unrivalled, and he is the exact player to get us out of deadlocked situations.

    The original Ronaldo is a striker whom I have absolutely nothing but admiration for. He is quick and his footwork and linkup play is good and he scores goals from all over the place. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for our shorties, good as they are. Not dissing our shorty strikers though, don’t get me wrong. But their eye for goal and ability to strike a ball really still pale in comparison to the original Ronaldo.

  25. denton davey says:

    Rai @ 23:34: “I agree with the arguments that Jones will become a midfielder, he has all the qualities to fulfill that position. Then take into account we have Carrick who can play as an anchor man, albeit differently to the usual holding midfielder but I don’t see an issue with him playing that position.”

    Let’s re-wind the tape. Wasn’t Michael Carrick purchased to complement Owen Hargreaves – Pirlo/Gattuso ?

    I’m wondering if SAF doesn’t have another trick up his sleeve – is the crafty OldFootieKnight going to give Michael Carrick more latitude to be a deep-lying playmaker rather than a shield ? If WillieRedNut is right about Phil Jones’ role as a defensive midfielder then it’s not clear that Michael Carrick needs to be “just” a shielding player.

  26. denton davey says:

    YorYor @ 12:49: “Not dissing our shorty strikers though, don’t get me wrong. But their eye for goal and ability to strike a ball really still pale in comparison to the original Ronaldo.”

    Well, yeah. FatRonaldo really was ThePhenomenon. In his prime, he was the best player in the world. Period.

    But I think you are unfair to “our shorty strikers” – both TheWayneBoy and Chicharito have done well when they’ve got service. Two years ago, TheWayneBoy was scoring for fun WITH HIS HEAD and last year Chicharito scored several astonishing headers – the twisting, turning, reverse-header against Stoke (degree of difficulty 10.00) was really-and-truly amazing. I’ve been watching footie for more than fifty years and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like that.

  27. Rai says:

    Denton – “Let’s re-wind the tape. Wasn’t Michael Carrick purchased to complement Owen Hargreaves – Pirlo/Gattuso ?”

    Carrick was purchased before Hargreaves, and given the number 16 shirt even though a totally different type of player. I’m not saying the number makes a player, but Ferguson trusts Carrick to do a defensive role.

    I’m not saying Carrick should just be a “shielding” player. His general distribution is brilliant so he still has a variety to his game that not many players have.

    He is versatile in the sense he can play as a deep midfielder as he did so well against Chelsea last season, or if he has the support of the other midfielders he can also (and should) be getting in more efforts on goal.

    De Rossi will add nothing new to our squad in my humble opinion

  28. keegan4england says:

    StatesideAussie says:
    keegan4england … the average height of the defensive unit

    But midfield and attack are practically all under 5,10 and thats what we were talking about. Attacking players. Yes, free kick and coprners are important, but David Villa scored most of his goals from open play thanks to incredible service from midfield.

    England, relying on the likes of Heskey and Crouch are clear examples of height not playing a bloody bit of difference.

  29. Nigeria4United says:

    …Inasmuch as i agreed with you all on all the arguments put forward, something struck me as i read through it all, why do we fans always think we know better than the gaffer? Fine, we’ve seen him shot himself on the foot couple of times in the past in his dealings as regards transfers. Fine, we all have differs opinion and fantacies about who we want to adorn our beloveth red-shirt but in all this, lets not forget that the weight to always churn out the trophies still heavily rest on this good old SAF. If he feels we are okay with the current squad and call the blufs of Inter/Sneijder, all well and good, if he thinks Berba still have positives to offer, so be it…
    Last summer i thought the team we had wasnt good enough, but see what he dragged them into achieving! Let all just continue to trust him…

  30. kel says:

    If he shows attitude, then he should leave. Who he think he is? Bigger than the club?

    Lucky he is good behaved, thanks.

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