Berbatov: Ten Hag's United 'on the right path'
Dimitar Berbatov is encouraged by what he has seen from Erik ten Hag's Manchester United so far in 2022/23, and expects the team's progression to accelerate once the season resumes.
The Reds signed off before the mid-season World Cup with an important win over another of Berba's former clubs, Fulham, and the Bulgarian says our best performances under Ten Hag reveal real promise.
But the 41-year-old – who is currently running to become president of the Bulgarian FA – says more consistency and greater concentration are the crucial next steps to attain.
“We have the players, we have the coach,” he began, in an exclusive interview with club media's Mark Sullivan.
“We have shown that when we are concentrated, the consistency is there. We have shown we can have great, great, great matches.
“So I hope that after the World Cup and when the season starts again, [the] concentration and consistency factor will be even more high. Because I want to see United after the season ends, up there with the teams who are fighting for the title [next season]. [To] push and push and push ourselves.”
Berbatov left United to join Fuham in 2012 after four seasons at the club, in which he won two Premier League titles. And he told us he is still regularly stopped on the streets of his home country, with people keen to ask his opinion on events at Old Trafford.
“Everybody wants to know what's happening. 'Are we on the right path?' It is happening all around the world when you are a fan of United!” he smiled.
“So as much as I have time, I try to explain that my point is that we are on the right path. You need to be patient. And, of course, the two words I always repeat are consistency and concentration. These are the most important two words I repeat all the time.
“So I'm spreading the word around Bulgaria, around the world – don't worry about that!”
While Berbatov admits Ten Hag's work is a process that requires patience, he hopes that United's further progress under the new manager will be swift in 2023.
“I think that Ten Hag must know the team he is putting together around him, to trust what they are doing and what he wants,” judged Berba.
“And as I said, in the end, as in life, this is a process. This is a process, so I hope that process is not going to take long for the team to be where it belongs, and it is going to be more short and efficient.
“I know that's not possible sometimes but, in my head, hopefully that will be the way.”