Date: 21st April 2011 at 3:00pm
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As is customary with any result that doesn’t go Man United’s way (and sometimes even when we win!), fans are out in force looking for a scapegoat to blame it on.

It is only normal to react rashly to a defeat, blaming the referee, the FA, Carrick, Carrick’s dad, Carrick’s neighbour, Berbatov, Berbatov’s entire ancestry etc.

Before the Newcastle game, where Berbatov didn’t feature, I got a bit annoyed when someone on Twitter suggested that “Berbatov’s United career might be over… Not even on the bench… he’s let the team down on important occasions too often.”

Obviously, I can’t be sure about the first bit of the statement, but to say that Berba has let us down is nonsense in my eyes. So, I thought I would write a small defence of the man (instead of sending innumerable replies) after I was challenged on Twitter by someone else about my thoughts on Berba.

Here we go:

1. Goals

I remember a time when Berba was routinely criticised for not scoring enough, after all we bought him as a striker and strikers score goals.

That is a fair criticism of his early days at United, but this season he has scored plenty. So, if we just look at goals scored, he’s having a great season. Top scorer in the league and despite people bandying around the old “11 goals in 3 games” stat (which just shows that you can add), he has scored some very important goals.

I came up with at least 6 wins where his goals were decisive: Liverpool(3 goals, score 3-2), Blackburn (5, which fans laughably downplay, 7-1), Sunderland (2, 2-0), Birmingham (3, 5-0), Blackpool (2, 3-2) and Bolton (1, 1-0). Now, please don’t come up with “3 goals in a 5-0 win is not very important”. His goals had a great influence in all of his matches that were worth 18 points.

Of course, you can prove anything with statistics; for example, he’s scored only 4 out of 21 away from home in the league. It’s fine to pick up on this, it’s also fine to pick and choose which games he was cr*p in to prove a different point. But at the end of the day, you could do that for any striker (except Hernandez probably, who is having an awesome season!). The sad thing is that, with Berba, people tend to pick up on some misses, as if strikers should NEVER miss, and then affirm that he has let us down and he is sh*t.

2. General play and teamwork

OK, goals are evidently not the only important part of a player’s performance, even if it’s a striker.

General performance is a lot harder to measure with stats. Let’s look at the criticisms: lazy, bottler, doesn’t track back a la Rooney/Tevez/headless chicken, sulks a lot, doesn’t help out.

Now, about tracking back, tackling and “helping out”, Rooney does it and it looks impressive and is (nonsensical) barometer for energy. Nevertheless people fail to realise that Berba is NOT that kind of player. He has a role within the team, which is assigned by Fergie and I am pretty sure Fergie doesn’t give him the hairdryer because he didn’t run 1000 yards to win the ball back.

The “sulking” bit is another straw being clutched at. Berba does get annoyed on the pitch at times, but I fail to see how that is a negative thing? When Rooney does it, it’s called passion. How is that fair? Man United has always been blessed with spirited dynamic players. What Berba offers is supreme technique and intelligence disguised as nonchalance, his link-up play is magnificent. Yes, it is frustrating as a fan to see him seemingly slowing the play when we are chasing a game to create something, but that’s what his game is about and Fergie clearly accepts it. He has the ability to change games on his own when on form and currently, few United players can do that.

I think fans only criticise him because they expect ‘Rooney-like’ enthusiasm from him, which is wrong because simply, he is not Rooney. Whether you like his ‘lazy’ brilliance is up to you and subjective.

Continued On Page 2

29 responses to “Give Dimitar Berbatov a break!”

  1. Marlowe says:

    great article. I love berba. Every striker misses goals, but Berba’s the main reason we are still challenging for the League title. When wazza was in his slump, we depended on goals from berba and nani.

  2. Calvins Omondi says:

    Give berba a break,he’s done so much for Man Utd

  3. Alom says:

    I was a great fan Dimitar Berbatov’s since b4 he came 2 United and I loved it when he was transfered here… so much so that I bought a United shirt with his name and number on the back of it!!

    your article was great.. Berbatov is a striker like no other, yea he didnt score a lot in his first 2 seasons but there was so much 2 his link up play and intelligence that i just admired.. but of course you can not tell that from just lookin at the stats which is what most ppl do..

    i can probably go on for a while too… fan’s who make him out 2 be a scapegoat are idiots.. look what he has done for us this season!! also against City… Berbatov never plays well upfront on his own… why blame him for that… its just like Carrick who plays better in a 442 rather than a 451 IMO…

    Berbatov’s Manchester United status became legendary 2 me when he scored that Hattrick passed Liverpool!!

  4. charlotteee. says:

    totally agree with this article. i am a massive berbatov fan! it annoys me when people criticise him! he’s a great player and because he has a ‘lazy’ playing style people just think he’s crap. fans weren’t having a go when he was scoring for fun and rooney was in poor form. i’ll always stick up for berba 😉

  5. charlotteee. says:

    also, it’s absolutely ridiculous that he is blamed for us losing all of these competitions! hopefully these rumours about him leaving will stay just rumours, i’d love him to stay because he’s such a clever player

  6. Diablo says:

    Berbatov!,well what a strange season,top scorer,but overshadowed by the Mighty Pea”,his lazy languid style is not the favotite of many a Red though,Id keep him and we have then 3 Top strikers, simple as that!

  7. BexManUtdFreak says:

    I am one of the biggest Berba fan out there and he is the reason I gave Utd the light of day back in 08. Officially became a supporter in 09 when CR7 was no longer there. And Berba’s style was what attracted me to him in the first place. My bro’s were watching a Utd match and I decided to give football a try after hating it for so long and Berba’s movement on the ball and his technical skills had me asking my bro’s all they knew about him. Since then I have been a Berba and Utd supporter and I have never looked back once.
    His first season at Utd can be overlooked simply because of the presence of Rooney, Tevez and Ronaldo as three great finishers up front most of the time.Therefore I do not see how his performance in that season is a problem for so many. How the hell u gonna bench CR7 and Rooney or Tev for another striker no matter how good?
    Second season, after having to play 4th choice striker, he suddenly had to fill the void left by CR7 and Tev. I don’t blame him for his performance in that season either. I think it was simply a matter of lack of confidence after being left out so much and match fitness. This season has seen that change tho.He has taken on a new role and at the beginning of the season said he was fitter than ever. He even showed it in pre-season matches. I tried something like the writer of this article and I took out all Berba’s goals and we were 5 places off the top. Take out his assists and his total involvement and we might not even be in the top 10 for all we know. Berba suddenly found himself on the bench because Chicha scored a few goals. If that does not diminish confidence, I don’t know what does. I know SAF says he does not perform in big games but I don’t blame him seeing as one bad performance has seen him left out for the rest. I say give Berba a break for real. Every time he starts to perform and do really well, something sees him get pushed back and I doubt it is ever his fault. Lack of confidence has seen many a good baller fail and that is exactly what is happening to him. He is being regarded as a flop simply because SAF chooses to ignore him anytime some faster but less technical person comes along. Hernandez may be faster and can mess up defenders but Berba is more technical and in control and does not need to run down a defense to score a goal. I rather Berbatov anyday

    • JonyB says:

      Its amazing how ONE player can draw you into supporting a club…… Mine was our very own Stevie Coppell……… I’m a big Berba fan too though…..

      • BexManUtdFreak says:

        Yea..And the thing is I aint gonna be leaving even tho he might leave. I remember a girl told me once she used to be a Utd fan when Ronaldo was there but now she likes Real and Chelsea..I could only shake my head. I love Berba but I love Utd a bit more..:)

    • charlotteee. says:

      totally agree with what you said about berba’s confidence being knocked and him not getting a chance to perform in big games. it is unfair that berba dosen’t get a look in now chicharito’s in good form.

      • BexManUtdFreak says:

        Yep..The same thing happened to Chamakh over at Arsenal. He started the season so well and since RvP came back he has had to suffer on the bench. Now he can hardly score a goal. It really does something to a players confidence and that is the real issue here..Not about not being able to perform in big games. Chicharito runs around the field uselessly at times..Berba is always in position when he is needed.. 🙂

        • charlotteee. says:

          yeap, it did! and that’s true about berba being in the right position. it annoys me when people say he is lazy etc etc |-) he’s a classy player with good vision and style 😉 he should be given more of a chance. hopefully he wont leave at the end of the season :/

  8. ittozz says:


  9. steven says:

    I Love the article. Thank you for writing it. One thing I would also add is his absolute class and off the field behavior. No media comments, no negative interviews, none of that circus that Rooney did during his contract negotiation, nothing but absolute class. Despite all the treatment he was receiving from coaches, fans and the media he behaved like a model athlete.

    • D.Bozhilov. says:

      Thanks for bringing up this aspect, I missed it. Berbatov is the perfect gentleman! He is also a model for impeccable public behaviour and lack of greed for the limelight! I do not think that many people in England know that , although an extremely rich young man, he is extremely modest, and so is his family- his mother and father still live in the modest family apartment and his mother stills works as a nurse in the local hospital.

  10. sulaiman says:

    every player has his on style of playin.when rooney is nt scorin @ d strt of d season is berba dat we rely on.on newcastle match we mis him cos as if he was arnd he wil hav change d game n d outcome of d match.i dont want him 2 leav united.