Dimitar Berbatov Exclusive: You’re top of the league, United, now don’t mess this up!

Manchester United are top, now don’t fuck up!

I think they deserve to be there and they are on a great run of 11 games unbeaten. I was so happy to see their win against Burnley, I wasn’t impressed with the game but in the end they won and got the three points. You need special players, like Paul Pogba, to decide matches like this. I was so happy to see him score, he was unbelievable and definitely man of the match.

Now though, it’s going to be a completely different match against Liverpool but I want to see them keep their cool, concentrate and do everything that got them to the top spot. The players will be at the training ground, checking the table on their phones and smiling, seeing them in first place.

That feeling of being on top is unbelievable, hopefully they can see it, smell it, taste it and say ‘boys, we need to stay where we are.’

It will be difficult but I’m sure they are going to do everything they can, if they continue to show the consistency they have done in the past 11 games then they’ll be up there at the end of the season.

I’m really pleased for the whole team and for Solskjaer. The manager is constantly scrutinised and he is always under the microscope. But now they are top and are on a great run. The credit for this must go to both the players and the manager for where they are at the moment. It’s never a good feeling to wake up and read that you’re going to be sacked every week, Solskjaer is probably sat in his office looking at the table and laughing.

In the end, there are always ups and downs in football and I’m sure that questions around Ole will never go away, but for now he needs to be praised along with the team for the job they are doing.

On-form Pogba is huge for United

When Paul Pogba is on form, he makes a huge impact for United. His performance against Burnley was unbelievable, forget about the goal, that was just the reward for everything he did in the game. He was constantly up and down the pitch, intercepting play, reading the game, defending and attacking.

This is the Pogba that I like to see.

Yes, it was against Burnley, but these are the games when you need to be 100% focused because these are the type of games that can be difficult to concentrate because of the opposition and the thought that they will beat themselves, which isn’t the case. Big teams lose titles against smaller teams. It was great to see the performance from Pogba and the whole team last night.

Eric Bailly is another player that has really impressed me recently – what a player – he is the rock at the back at the moment. The whole team was concentrated and at the end of the day, it’s a 1-0 win, three points, top of the table, thank you very much.

Do the players believe they can do this?

In football the path is never clear and it will be tough for United right up to the end of the season, they will lose games and win games. If you lose it all depends on if it is a bad moment, it will be a tough ride for sure because Liverpool aren’t going to say ‘here you go United, here’s our title, take it.’

It’s funny to say it because this is how it used to be for me back in the day, but when you see yourself at the top of the table it’s a great feeling and you don’t want to lose it, hopefully that is the case now with the players, I hope they can believe that they can bring the title back to Old Trafford. Just like they have already surprised people by reaching top spot, they can surprise everyone at the end of the season by becoming champions.

Sunday could be tactical

This weekend’s match against Liverpool is massive. I’m not going to be playing in the game so I’m feeling pretty calm and confident at home in my chair, but I bet there is going to be a lot of tension among the players from both teams, there will be nervousness and pressure to win for both sides.

Both teams will be prepared, but I think it will be a tactical battle because a lot is a stake.

Hopefully, I can be proven wrong and there will be a lot of goals, but I think Liverpool will look to press more on the front foot and United will try to counter attack them. I’m sure Ole won’t be bothered how they do it if they take the three points. Maybe Liverpool will hit the post 10 times in the game and United will score with their only chance and it will finish 1-0, that will be the three points and I won’t care, as long as they win.

I don’t want to underestimate Liverpool and the players that are substituting for Van Dijk, Gomes and Matip, because Fabinho is doing great in that defensive position. When we were at Monaco together, he used to play there from time to time as well as right-back and defensive midfielder. So he is versatile and can play a number of positions. He is intelligent and he is very well suited to play in their defence.

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I think it’s going to be an even game, both teams have got a strong attacking force with very quick players upfront in Salah, Mane, Martial and Rashford. I think if Cavani is going to play he has that experience and intelligence to know how to unlock a defence like Liverpool and he can be a big weapon. If Pogba continues like he did in the last game, with that desire to get up and down the pitch with his big strides, technique and vision then he will also cause problems.

At the back, as long as United don’t overcomplicate things, play simple, take the ball and give it to someone else with one or two touches then I think United will be ok. In my opinion it’s more important for United not to lose, one point can be a big difference at the end of the season and it can make you champions.

Not only is this game a big one for the title race, but it’s Manchester United against Liverpool. On the pitch there is a mutual respect between the players, some might even be friends, that’s quite common, but when I stepped on to the pitch in these games it was a case of ‘nothing personal, my friend, but I will try everything to win this game’.

Win would be a major statement

In my first season at United, we went head-to-head with Liverpool and it felt great to beat them to the Premier League title. Although we lost to them on my debut, we went on to win the title and that goes to show that even though you may lose a match of this magnitude you still need to focus and be concentrated because it’s big league with a lot of games and in the end you can still go on to win it, like we did.

Trust me, at the end of that season, nobody gave a f**k that we lost to Liverpool, we got the trophy and they didn’t, beating them to it was double the joy. Breaking the record for most titles was a great moment too, when we did that and made it 19, there were no words, it was like we became immortal.

If United win it will be a big blow for Liverpool psychologically, it will also be a big statement to the Premier League and United will be sending a message that we are back. However, if they do win, they can’t sit there and enjoy it because six points is nothing in the Premier League and that’s something we’ve witnessed before.

It will be a great boost for the team and the confidence if they do win but you don’t stop and smile, you must build on it until the very last game and you’re singing ‘we are the champions’ which is a great feeling.

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