Football

Solskjaer needs top-four finish to cement position at club: Berbatov

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should no longer be seen as a "transitional figure" at Old Trafford, but only a top-four English Premier League finish would cement his position at the club, former striker Dimitar Berbatov said.

United were in fifth place when the EPL ground to a halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, but were on a five-game unbeaten run and only three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Berbatov, who won two EPL titles during his time at Old Trafford, believes Solskjaer has the support of the United hierarchy to rebuild the squad but needs results to end speculation about his future.

"It's massive for United to finish in the top four," Berbatov said in an interview with Betfair.

"It will give confidence to the manager. We all know he gets criticised and put under pressure and people are constantly speculating about his position, but this would cement him in the job.

NO MORE TRANSITION

"He shouldn't be seen as a transition figure any more, it's disrespectful, it shows him no respect to what he is doing in his position."

If second-placed Manchester City's European ban for breaching Uefa financial rules is upheld, United could claim a Champions League spot by finishing fifth.

Berbatov says United's players must hit the ground running when they face Tottenham Hotspur in their first match back on Saturday morning (Singapore time) to lay the groundwork for the season run-in.

"The first game is so important, they need to take their chance," said Berbatov, who also played for Spurs from 2006-08. "If they do, then there will be a massive change next season and it will be huge."

Fans would be eager to see how midfielder Bruno Fernandes combines with back-from-injury Paul Pogba. - REUTERS

Football