Berbatov grabs the gauntlet
Michael Carrick has saluted the spring impact of Dimitar Berbatov. Against Fulham on Sunday the Bulgarian striker scored one, notched a superb assist for one of Wayne Rooney's goals and had a hand in the other. The £30.75m club record buy was also hugely instrumental in United's 1-0 win at Molineux against Wolves the week previous. He has taken up the gauntlet thrown down by many asking who would step forward to back up Rooney's sensational campaign. "Berba was terrific against Fulham," said Reds midfielder Michael Carrick. "He has been excellent for a number of weeks now. "At Wolves it was a big performance from him as he was up-front on his own. "And on Sunday he really deserved his goal after all his work and endeavour. He did terrificly for Wayne's second goal and his overall play was very good. "He is hitting top form at the right time." United are back on top of the Premier League with 66 points in one of the closest title battles for years. Chelsea and Arsenal are just two points behind with the Stamford Bridge club having a game in hand. Factor The London challengers both scored victories ahead of United's Old Trafford match 24 hours later against Fulham. "It is tight. It will go down to the wire. We must win as many as we can," Carrick added. "Chelsea and Arsenal winning on Saturday wasn't too much of a factor going into our match. "It is nice before the game if you have seen them drop points but really once you go out for the game it doesn't affect you. You go into game mode and focus on the game. "If you apply too much pressure on yourselves you do things you shouldn't so we had to believe in ourselves and the confidence and belief in the squad at the moment is really superb. "We are scoring good goals and plenty of them and I hope that continues." Wayne Rooney, of course, is head and shoulders in front as the Reds leading goalscorer with 32 to his name and, as an England colleague, Carrick hopes his hot streak continues well into the summer for the World Cup in South Africa. "Where will it end for Wayne? Hopefully sometime at the end of July!" added Michael. "There is still a long way to go and games to play and his goal ratio this season is incredible. I am sure he will keep up his brilliant performances. "Whether he can keep the scoring up or just makes them for others, it doesn't matter. He will say himself it doesn't matter whether he scores or makes them just as long as we are picking up trophies. "But it is nice for him that they are flying in left, right and centre." Berbatov himself, meanwhile, says although he is looking to add to the 10 goals he has now netted this season, he is quite happy to be provide the bullets for Rooney to fire. And the Bulgarian is keen to help his strike partner get over 40 goals this season. "If we win it doesn't matter who scores for me as long as we are champions in the end," said 29-year-old Berbatov. "I try to assist more. In fact I preferred the second assist I gave to Wayne. That is sometimes better than scoring. "Wayne can go over 40 goals because there are plenty of games left in the season. I wish him luck and we are all going to help him to over the that mark. "Like I have told him many times, he just needs to stay healthy and he can achieve everything." Is Berbatov finally fulfilling his potential? Have your say.
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