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Fergie: Berba’s Attitude Is Spot On

Dimitar Berbatov was left out of Manchester United’s starting line-up again, much to the surprise of many fans who had been expecting the Bulgarian to make a return after barely getting on the pitch this season.

Sit Alex Ferguson still insists that the striker has a future at the club, although this is becoming more and more difficult to believe.

However, it is good to see that in light of being dropped, Berba is continuing with his great attitude, which should be admired.

“It is hard because of the number of strikers we have,” said Ferguson. “Michael Owen is there, Federico Macheda, Mame Biram Diouf. Danny Welbeck won’t be back next week but probably the week after. It is not easy. Dimitar has been training terrific. His attitude is spot on. He will get his game time as the season wears on. There is no question about that.”


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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71 Comments

  1. smartalex says:

    If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it’s been given a good rogering by Zibbie!

  2. WillieRedNut says:

    He roasted that duck! Plucky cunt!

  3. NBI Red Onion says:

    Watching the reserve games – let me just say Diouf is a good player. The guy is really growing on me, he offers something different and I think he has a future at United. Anyone who doubts that needs to get down and watch some reserve games. His movement is great and finishing is getting sharper. Gel’s well with Pogba. Has pace, intelligence and strength, good in the air.

    Machaeda is also looking like he is coming back to form, but he has not quite shown the form I thought he would by this stage, maybe that Sampadoria loan has knocked him back.

    It’s also great watching how the team coming through links together – you can definately see the pass and move, creative midfielder, and pace pace pace with skill…

    re Berba, I am not too bothered really, I think he’s finished at the Club as a first 11 player. I think it’s obvious we are moving to bring through youth and that really is what I think United is about. I think the Club is losing 6 million a year putting the guy on the bench and he should be sold, it’s alot money.

    Agree with @ Mr C – you want players flighting for places, can’t see Cantona being content with a place on the bench, didn’t work for Scholes either, but some talented players, also like Owen, seem okay with that if it broadly fits in with their ambitions and they are comfortable in life (i.e.Owen is near his horses).

    However, for me, the more I watch our youth team, the less I feel we need Berba or Owen, and the more I think that Carrick and Fletcher are going to really have a fight on their hand when Pogba steps up. Some of his approach play just makes you hold your breath, the guy is that good, I would rate him above Cleverly from what I seen and I rate Cleverly above everyone in mid bar Ando.

    Time to look forward. Really glad to hear SAF mention Diouf and Machaeda as player he has in mind.

  4. kev e says:

    @ Denise. I think you’re right that at the moment SAF is only interested in Rooney, Chicha and Welbeck. But this is because if Rooney is fit then he’s the first name on the team sheet. It then becomes a question of who plays with him… in the league when we are generally playing 2 up front results since the turn of the year show that Rooney works best with a fast, nippy striker making runs beyond him to open up space and to ping balls to. In this sense it is great that Danny is proving he is capable of playing at this level as he gives us back up when Rooney is fit but Chica is unavailable, which is needed as this seems to be the preference. So that’s the three.

    However we all know that Rooney will not be able to play every match this season. He generally misses about 4/6 weeks a season with injuries and will need resting at other times for key matches. In my mind this is why Berba is still with us. As back up for Rooney as playmaker rather than a strike partner… and that’s why he hasn’t played yet… Wayne is knocking them in from all over the park… he’s undroppable!!

    Little Micky is an impact sub, when he’s needed… and Diouf and Macheda haven’t quite yet played their way in to contention… So that’s my opinion… 5 is spot on, and a couple in the reserves to get some experience.

    Suggests Leeds will be 442 with Berba and Macheda maybe? I’d have thought Welbeck if he was fit. Can’t remember the last time Owen started a match so maybe on after 60 mins?

  5. NBI Red Onion says:

    Berba is still with us because he does not want to leave United or at least not for PSG. His agent has repeatedly said he does not want to leave and made this point a number of times around the PSG story.

    I don’t the Club have ever gone public to try to push a player out, even with Gibson, they were happy to sell him, he decided to stay, adds to the wage bill, but the Club still treats him well and looks to include him. They let Hargreaves run his contract fdown, always looking to give him an opportunity.

    With Kuz, as I said, they needed to hang on to him for his experience until Lind or De Gea showed they could do the business. Still think he will now go in Jan if there is an offer.

    You have to admire the way the Club does not publicly push players out or humiliate them. Wes and O’Shea leaving was a surprise. I admire the way SAF does business. Just look at the way City hs publicly embarrased some of the players they lured for big money – I mean Adebayor can be a twat, but the guy is not someone you put to train with the reserve team, he is better than that and humiliating him like that shows the complete lack of class of the blue goons.

    As such, what the Club really things re Berba staying, is not something any of us are likely to find out.

  6. StatesideAussie says:

    @King Eric … cheers mate.

    @RMW (and others) … yeah, I got what you meant about confidence in front of goal. I guess we will just have to see.

    @Mr C … I understand what you mean, but I think you are confusing two different issues. Just because The Berb (apparently) accepts his role (whatever that is), and seems relaxed and comfortable on the bench, doesn’t mean he lacks ambition. Surely, the appropriate place for him to demonstrate his ambition is on the training ground — not while he’s sitting on the bench on game day. And by all accounts (or by SAF’s account, which is really the only one that counts), Berbatov’s attitude in training has been first-rate. SAF has said that several times this season alone, including again this week. And SAF wouldn’t say that about any player, unless that player was indeed busting a gut to get into the team — because that’s exactly the attitude that SAF expects and demands. And that’s the attitude that expresses ambition.

  7. StatesideAussie says:

    NBI … no, I think you’re wrong. SAF has pushed players out before. The names Beckham and Stam spring to mind. Now, I don’t recall all the details of those cases, but I am fairly certain that Stam was one example of a player who was pushed out. I believe SAF later said that it was a mistake. And it’s not clear to me whether Roy Keane jumped or was pushed (maybe a bit of both). In any event, it is inconveivable to me that if SAF wanted a player to leave, that player would defy him and stay. It is doubly inconceivable to me that if that did happen, SAF would then respond by giving that player a regular spot on the bench (even if unused).

  8. RedDevil4Lyfe says:

    http://www.manutd.com/en/Fanzone/News-And-Blogs/2011/Sep/blog-fans-have-never-had-it-so-good.aspx?pageNo=3

    Ok who are the little twats that called for Giggs retirement? Show urselves now

  9. wiuru says:

    I cant point to proof of this thought ,but i felt that Berba was possibly on the move in the close season .The deal involved another player coming in and it did not pan out .However, january may see it happen ?

    Like i say i can not back it up . Neither can i understand why he is content to sit on the bench .His confidence must be stretched .

  10. Mr C says:

    @Stateside: As ever, you make excellent points well. Nonetheless, a world class player like Berbatov cannot be or should not be content to wait on a promise to get a game, now and then, particularly if he is stepping up to the mark in training. As manager, SAF can afford to take in the wider picture club-wise and make the calls. But Berba’s a footballer, not the manager or coach, and top class footballers need to play regularly. I can’t help feeling that the Berba’s getting the short end of the stick as a consequence of the Rooney ‘ambition’ nonsense last year, and the accomodations of Rooney that followed, which altogether is a bad sign.

  11. Denise Williams says:

    Smartalex I see your point. However the problem is Fergie very rarely rotated his strikers last season. During the last three months of last season Fergie promised Owen game time on several oaccasions however it never came. So I will not be holding my breath this season. Fergie says that he chooses which strikers to play according to who can win the game for them. This begs the question if he does not think Berba or Owen can win a game for them why offer them a contract.

  12. smartalex says:

    Denise Williams – I guess that the best answer to that question is that the transfer window closes on the 1st of September, the injuries and form only become apparent much later, and squad selection is an inexact science.

    That doesn’t help Michael Owen though, does it? Of course, if MO could have last year over again, he would make the same decision to stay at United. For one thing, he achieved a life-time goal when he received his League Winner’s Medal, and he came damn close to getting a Champions League Winner’s Medal, but had to settle for a Runner’s Up gong.

    Also, it’s not really accurate to consider that Sir Alex “does not think Berba or Owen can win a game for” United. If that can be concluded simply because they weren’t selected, then every time we don’t choose a player for a month we should get rid of them as they clearly don’t feature in our plans. Not actually true. Just because another player is considered more suitable for a particular game, or run of games, does not change the fact that every member of our squad is considered eminently suitable by the gaffer.

  13. DohaRed says:

    I just watched the United CD for last season. It is peppered with interview slots with Berbatov. That guy is so fucking cool its untrue. I love his attitude to the club, and his commitment to the team. If he wasn’t playing for United, I bet he would be a United fanatic just like the rest of us. Sad that he hasn’t got off the bench yet, and hope the Fergie will give him a chance soon. The guy deserves respect from all United fans.

    Can’t wait for Sundays game – I feel it in my bones that we are gonna whip Chelsea’s arse.

  14. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ stateside – u may be right, if SAF wants a player out he goes, maybe he is not decided yet and is waiting to see how the season evolves. I would be surprised if owen and berba were here next year though unless one of them gets some serious starts.

    Also I do think this affects ber. He said he was too ashamed to come out at CL finals. But I agree with posters that u want to see some fight in a player, maybe he does behind scenes.

  15. denton davey says:

    NBI @ 16:54: “I would be surprised if owen and berba were here next year though unless one of them gets some serious starts.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see LittleMikey kept around as “insurance”; I’d be astonished to see Dimmy kept on – with wages three times those paid to LittleMikey – UNLESS something unforeseen happens AND he starts playing regularly AND doing-the-business. It’s possible but not, I think, likely.

    My best guess is that Dimmy – like LittleMikey – is being kept around as insurance in case TheWayneBoy and Chicharito and Danny Welbeck somehow come down with simultaneous injuries. I’m not recommending this but one only has to think back to the situation in November/December of the year before last in the match against Fulham when the back four was comprised of Ritchie De Laet, DarrenFletcherinho and Michael Carrick.

    These kind of “imperfect storms” can happen. Moreover, since no money was spent of WeeWesley’s wages – and a lot of wages were saved by the retirement/transfers in the off-season – I’d guess that there was “spare money” in the wages column and SAF got his way to have these two veteran professionals kept around as “insurance” rather than confronting a situation in which Mame Biram Diouf and KikoTheKid were the first-choice strikers.

    AND while I can see the logic of StateSideAussie’s defence of Dimmy’s continued role at OT, I don’t buy into it because I think that SAF’s reason for keeping him around was not because he thinks of him as a valuable, first-choice player but, rather, because the OldFootieKnight knows that shit happens – TheWayneBoy has a history of leg, ankle, foot injuries; Chicharito has a history of concussions; Danny Welbeck has a history of leg problems. If these three guys were healthy – and one could feel confident that they would remain healthy – then Dimmy would have been sold (if he wanted to go). In addition, while Dimmy’s value must be declining in the transfer market, he still retains “potential value” in the event of an unforeseen injury crisis to the first three strikers.

    AND, finally, while Dimmy might not “cash in” with a bumper new contract if he is not renewed at OT, any team that signs him as a free agent will have to pay high wages as well as a hefty signing-on fee. At 30, Dimmy would be in the autumn of his career but after watching unbelievable amounts of money being thrown around in all professional sports for the past two/three decades, I am of the opinion that there is always some foolish owner (or desperate manager) who is eager to be parted from his money in the hope that an autumnal career can be turned into an Indian Summer.

  16. Mr C says:

    @denton davey: That’s a lot of words just to say you are a Berba hater…whoops sorry, ‘sceptic’.:) That much is known anyway already from your previous posts but I can’t figure out why you spend so much effort aiming so much ire at one player. If you think Berba is crap, that’s fine. We all have our opinions. However at some point it would be useful to know why you actually think so. ‘Indian summer?’ ‘foolish owner?’ How’s that logic work? We have several players over 30 at the moment and one who is 37….

    I consider that Berba, a world class player, has been treated poorly and disrespectfully, characteristics that I do not associate with Manchester United as a club or SAF as a manager. Whatever anyone might think at about SAF’s tactics on the pitch from time to time he is a great manager. A common theme of that greatness has been a fierce loyalty to his players with the expectation that they reciprocate. No player is bigger than the club and several have been shown the door, including great ones like Stam, when SAF suspected disloyalty. Given this doctrine, I cannot understand how Rooney is still at United, other than for compelling commercial reasons, after the affront Wayne showed to the club, the manager, his fellow players and the fans last year.

    Because of this policy departure there must be a wider issue at play on the Berba issue. Perhaps Berba has done something wrong ‘behind the scenes’ that we don’t know about? This is unlikely given SAF’s utterances and the opportunity to sell Berba before the transfer deadline which was passed up. More likely, and this is speculation on my part, is that SFA is anxious to prevent Rooney, an experienced younger player in an increasingly young side, throwing another club-rocking strop if rotated or dropped, as well as the need to cover risks of suspension or injury. Whatever the reason, Berbatov needs serious game time before long.

    Wayne’s United and England record indicates that he’s liable to play very badly for long periods if not continually supported by service of the highest quality from midfield in particular. When the likes of Tevez and Scholes departed or were departing, and Fletch went down, Rooney must have felt desperate. Certainly his form was shite. Wayne’s an excellent player but he cannot carry off the lone striker role or handle man marking at the highest level. The contrast between Wayne’s abject form for much of last year compared with his return to quality with a rejuvenated midfield in place supplying the chances illustrates the point. In contrast, Berbatov, a more technically gifted player, is less dependent in this regard and as such he stepped up to the plate last season with his twenty goals even though our midfield was lacking. It would be interesting to see how Berba would fare with the quality of service our front men our now getting.

  17. denton davey says:

    Mr C @ 12:54: ” If you think Berba is crap, that’s fine. We all have our opinions. However at some point it would be useful to know why you actually think so.”

    “Square peg/round hole” – I’ve written this on many occasions. I most certainly don’t consider Dimmy to be “crap” but, equally, he is not a “world class player” although I would acknowledge – and have done so repeatedly – that he does have fantastic touch and sublime skills. But – and here is the issue in my opinion – he is not suited to UTD’s pass-and-move, high-speed style that has only just been re-discovered after going into hiding for several years. Dimmy slows down the team’s play.

    “Whatever the reason, Berbatov needs serious game time before long.”

    Well again it’s only my opinion but Dimmy’s not going to get “serious game time” unless there are injuries to the three guys ahead of him (TheWayneBoy, Chicharito, and Danny Welbeck) which is what I wrote and why I speculated that he was being kept on as insurance.

    “Berbatov, a more technically gifted player, is less dependent in this regard and as such he stepped up to the plate last season with his twenty goals even though our midfield was lacking. It would be interesting to see how Berba would fare with the quality of service our front men our now getting.”

    I’d dispute your assertion that Dimmy is “more technically gifted” – sure, he has those silky skills but they are not evident AT SPEED which is the true hallmark of a supreme talent. TheWayneBoy’s ability to control the ball might be inferior to Dimmy’s but he can – and will – play at speed and he can – and will – play wall-passes at speed. Maybe Dimmy can do it BUT – and it’s really speaking to the point – he doesn’t.

    In a sense, Dimmy is comparable to Nani in that both of them keep the ball too long and too often but there’s a key difference – Berbatov plays centrally and Nani plays out wide. A central attacking player has less time/space so when Dimmy holds onto the ball the result is that the momentum gets lost and all the build-up play is neutralized whereas much of the time when Nani holds onto the ball his purpose is to start the momentum. Fans get frustrated with Nani when he stops the momentum – and this is because he is displaying the DimmyStyle. What I’m trying to get at is that it’s a team game and – in my opinion, of course – the DimmyStyle is not suited to that and,therefore, “square peg/round hole”.

    ” ‘Indian summer?’ ‘foolish owner?’ How’s that logic work? We have several players over 30 at the moment and one who is 37….”

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear enoughbut this paragraph was a response to StateSideAussie (@ 17:17 on Thursday) which was itself a reply to my earlier comment that day (@ 15:34). My point was that what we might call “the BerbatovFinancialStrategy” is based on the expectation that “there is always some foolish owner (or desperate manager) who is eager to be parted from his money in the hope that an autumnal career can be turned into an Indian Summer.” I am not privy to their planning but I have watched more-than-enough professional sports to know that this scenario is repeated over-and-over-and-over-again.

    Finally, you ask ” I can’t figure out why you spend so much effort aiming so much ire at one player.”

    This is a fair question – and one that pisses me off, too. BUT you will find that I don’t initiate such discussions but, rather, respond to other guy’s suggestions that Dimmy is key to SAF’s plans or – in some cases – the Messiah (i.e., the second coming of Eric Cantona). He’s not been all that. The empirical evidence is plain to see and it’s frustrating to me that guys like you do not acknowledge that evidence – i.e., one good half-season in three full years, key misses in important games, benched regularly for the big games, and so on. In my mind, he’s not TheMessiah but – to quote the Pythons – he’s just a naughty boy.

    I suppose that I shouldn’t bother rising-to-your-bait. The more fool me.

  18. Mr C says:

    @denton davey 15:21. Thanks for commenting back. I wasn’t trying to bait you – well not much anyway. However, I really did want to know why you are always on Berba’s case. Seriously. Life’s about opinions and I wanted to know why you are always so down on the guy. Anyway, just having read what you said, I’ve just a few comments of my own:

    First:
    “Square peg/round hole” – I’ve written this on many occasions. I most certainly don’t consider Dimmy to be “crap” but, equally, he is not a “world class player”.

    There’s more prejudice than logic in evidence here. If a square peg in a round whole ends up as our top scorer in a Premier League winning season, when the MF wasn’t playing particularly well, and the likes of a ‘world class’ striker like Rooney couldn’t hack it, then that would suggest that not only is Berba world class – he must be damn genius!

    Next:
    ‘he is not suited to UTD’s pass-and-move, high-speed style that has only just been re-discovered after going into hiding for several years. Dimmy slows down the team’s play.’
    In one breath you say that United’s high-speed style has been ‘hiding’ for several years and has ‘just’ been rediscovered, but you still manage to criticize Berba for slowing down play he hasn’t participated in yet. This does not compute Like I said, It would be interesting to see how Berba would fare with the quality of service our front men our now getting.

    Next:
    “…Dimmy’s not going to get “serious game time” unless there are injuries to the three guys ahead of him (TheWayneBoy, Chicharito, and Danny Welbeck) which is what I wrote and why I speculated that he was being kept on as insurance.

    If you are correct about Berba just being kept on as insurance you’d better hope that your analysis of his abilities are wrong, for as sure as night is day one or all of our strikers at some point or another will suffer injury, loss or form or both.

    Finally:
    ‘Wall passes’…WTF!
    We won’t be playing the likes of Bolton and WBA every week. Just have a look at last week’s game against Benfica. It cried out for someone upfront who could hold up the ball and do something different given the lack of service from M/F. Rooney? Ineffectual. At the highest level, Wayne again demonstrated that he cannot play effectively upfront as lone striker or handle man marking. That doesn’t make him shit –it’s just not his particular skill-set. Berba has proven ability at club and international level of doing just that.

    I won’t comment on the Messiah bit as it’s throwaway nonsense.

  19. denton davey says:

    Mr C – I wrote a long, convoluted reply to your response but my internet connection failed and those pearls of wisdom are now lost in the ether beyond cyberspace. Suffice it to say, I disagreed with your arguments @ 20:04. Let’s just agree-to-disagree and see what happens over the next few months – will Dimmy continue on the bench or not ?

  20. Mr C says:

    @ denton Fair enough. Let’s agree to disagree as we’re never going to agree on this. We both support United and want them to do well but clearly have wholly different views about the ethical, as well as the playing, dimension of the Berba / Rooney situation. It may sound corny, but the thing which distinguishes United from the likes of money-driven mercenary outfits like Chelski and City is our ethos or soul. not money. – great players, high standards, class football and a strong bonding between, fans, players and the club based on respect not money. I can’t help feeling that by giving in to Rooney on the ‘ambitiongate’ thing, followed hard by the treatment of Berbatov, we are compromising that ethos.

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