Dimitar Berbatov: Majority of United squad still believe in Ole

Dimitar Berbatov: Majority of United squad still believe in Ole

Liverpool match was a humiliation

It was painful to watch, I didn’t expect it and I don’t think many people expected it, but it was fully deserved for Liverpool to win and United to lose that game.

The performance was poor from every United player on the pitch, no exceptions. Nothing was working, the positioning, the communication, there was no will to get to the first or second ball. Liverpool reacted so quickly to everything. All these small details in a game can make a massive difference, and they did. It was a big, big disappointment.

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At half time, 4-0 down against Liverpool, it doesn’t matter how good you are in your head, how much of a fighter you are on the pitch, you are going to be down and out. Against Atalanta of course they came back from two goals down, but against a Liverpool side on another level it was over at half time. In those circumstance you start to think about saving face as much as you can.

I remember when we lost 6-1 to City, Sir Alex was in charge and that was a disappointment and a sh*t game for everybody there. So, it’s happened before and it has happened now, and maybe it will happen again at some point. Now it’s about how you react.

What I didn’t like was how nobody was arguing, it was a disappointing performance not worthy of United. It’s about bouncing back and reacting well. As always, the most important thing is you need to be strong in your head.

I’m concerned but look at the bigger picture

If we’re judging off that last performance, we need to be concerned, but it’s a long journey and there are going to be disappointing results. Every team has ups and downs, even the biggest in the world. It’s important how teams react, so I’m not too concerned, I hope they take notes because the quality is there with United and they need to bounce back together.

United are still in that period of transition from Sir Alex Ferguson’s time, they can not find that right momentum and right attitude and use all the talent they have to bounce back to become title contenders again, they still can’t find that. In the meantime, Liverpool are up there, City are up there and if United continue in that same way they will be behind them.

Pressure is on Ole

Judging on the Liverpool match, Solskjaer isn’t the right man to take the club forward. For some fans that’s the most important game of the season and we want to beat Liverpool maybe more than we want to beat City.

That being said, we have to look at the bigger picture and there are a lot more games to come, if they don’t win the next couple of matches then Ole is going to be in major trouble. I have read the latest reports saying that his job is secure for now, but if he loses the next couple then he is going to have a difficult time justifying his position and I won’t be surprised if they have already started looking for someone to speak to in case he loses the next couple of matches.

Next up for United is three tough matches: Spurs away, Atalanta away and City at home. I obviously have a strong sentiment towards United and Solskjaer for various reasons, but I also try to be realistic and I see that if they play the same way against Spurs like they did against Liverpool then they are in trouble.

Spurs are a side that are up and down, and it is a winnable game for United, but if they lose it the following two games become even more difficult and Solskjaer isn’t going to be in a position to stay at United. If they don’t beat Spurs, they are going to struggle in the next two games and the manager is going to be taking the blame.

Conte has experience to handle United

The latest reports are saying that Antonio Conte is open to taking the United job if it becomes available. He made Inter champions and he made Chelsea champions. Conte has the record and the reputation of working hard, I heard that a lot of times. He has been to England and done it, winning the Premier League. He is the name that everybody is talking about at the moment and maybe some people are saying that United need this disciplinarian approach, to tell them exactly what the manager expects of you, if they’re not doing it, bench. Maybe they need that from time to time?


Louis Van Gaal was similar to Conte in this way, discipline is the number one priority, but he was also successful and won the FA Cup. Conte has all the results and reputation behind him to know how to handle things at a big club in England. He’s probably number one on their list.

Players will be talking a lot between themselves

Like back when I was playing, there are a lot of big players in the dressing room at United. Big egos, big mentalities and winning personalities. So, of course it’s difficult for a manager to handle when you lose games 5-0 against your rivals.

When you watch the game back you can see the frustration from Ronaldo, he was angry, desperate and disappointed with everything that was going on, he didn’t expect a thrashing. I bet he had a lot to say at half time and after the game.

When you have players of Ronaldo’s stature in the team, they can have an honest conversation, and I hope they did, and strong words if they have to. Sometimes the manager will step back, and leave the players to talk it out, say what they want to each other so they can be free, and sometimes the manager may also get involved. In this case, I hope that Ole has shown them his disappointment and anger because at the end of the day he’s the boss and he is taking the blame at the end of the day. He needs to be really strong with them.

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Sometimes, the team can have crisis talk, only the players coming together in the dressing room to have a chat, I remember we used to do that back in the day with Gary Neville, Giggsy, Scholsey, Rooney and Rio would initiate talks like this in the dressing room, we would sit and chat and talk through problems.

We would also talk after training or even when we were on the bikes doing a recovery session, we always used to speak about things and I’m sure they still do.

I still think the majority of the players at United still believe in Ole, the respect is too much. When the manager is an ex-footballer and a legend, they have that respect and trust from the players. Only up to a certain point though, and if you lose that respect it’s hard to get back but I still think Ole has a bit more until he reaches that point.

Kane has a transfer saga hangover but he is trying

I’m not his shrink, but thinking logically and having been in the same position he was in over the summer if you aren’t strong in the head then everything else suffers in your performance. Yes, the transfer saga has played a major role on his mind and as the season has gone on, so far Spurs have been up and down, he’s not scoring, his performances have dropped, his mind is somewhere else and he’ll be disappointed. He’ll be thinking ‘they aren’t going to win anything so what’s the point’ and all this will be going around in his head.

Automatically when this happens your body reacts, and your head drops, even if he’s trying his best to help the team, which I think he is doing, sometimes it just doesn’t work out, there are so many factors piling up on him it’s no surprise, his head will be f*cked.

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I do think he is trying his best, I don’t see any other option, he’s a professional football player and one of the best in his position. In my mind it’s not that he’s not trying hard enough, he is trying, sometimes though all these factors pile up on your body and mind. They will pop up in different situations, when the team isn’t playing good, when you didn’t score, when you missed a chance, when you had a poor performance and all these things about the summer are going to come back in your head. He’ll be thinking: ‘I could have been at City scoring goals now.’

It is normal, I was the same and I was feeling similar, distracted, I was disappointed in myself for not playing good enough although trying the best I can.

It’s all about Spurs playing as unit so that Harry can shine, and I hope it can all click again for him because his quality is still there and I think he can start scoring goals as well.

Spurs still in the mix despite criticism

At this moment, Spurs are 6th and the gap isn’t too far to the top four, so they are there in the mix. As ever, they have had their ups and downs. No surprise there, the word for Spurs is: consistency. Nothing else. If they don’t do that they will finish 9th and fight to be above Arsenal again, which isn’t too much of a job at the moment.

But they need to do more and fight, with all due respect, Brighton are above them, there are a lot of games to come but they need to be consistent. I’m expecting Harry Kane to get back to his best, Son to hit form, they have the talent but still if the consistency isn’t there they aren’t going to do anything.

I hope the Spurs and United are going to surprise all of us and put on a good game. If United play the same way they did against Liverpool then they’re going to lose, that’s for sure. They go to Spurs, who will be pumped for the game knowing they have a chance to win and climb the table again, the Spurs players will be telling each other ‘now is the time to play United, now it the right moment.’

I’m sure they will be saying that and I’m sure the coach will be telling them that because it is the right moment to play United, it doesn’t matter how strong you are in the head, when you are beaten 5-0 by your main rival you suffer. Now, if Spurs are smart enough they will take advantage of that and they will know where to push on the pitch, which zone to explore to take advantage.

I think Spurs have the advantage, if they are smart enough they can win it.