Critics got to Berbatov - Fergie
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he had to step in and stop Dimitar Berbatov beating himself up about his Manchester United performances. Berbatov has been forced to endure as many brickbats as plaudits during his two seasons at Old Trafford. Although the Bulgarian is undoubtedly a player of immense talent, there are many who do not appreciate his languid style and feel he does not put enough heart into his performances. Comparisons with the obvious industry of Carlos Tevez, who was squeezed out by Berbatov's arrival and eventually opted to leave for Manchester City in a highly controversial move, have often not been favourable. And it seems Berbatov has taken too much notice of the bad publicity as, ahead of Sunday's encounter with Liverpool, Ferguson has revealed he had to tell his club record £30.75million record signing to stop taking so much notice of the critics. "Not everyone has questioned Dimitar," said Ferguson. "He has a lot of admirers, particularly at this club. "But when we buy a player for a lot of money, there is more focus on him. If they have an odd bad game there is a criticism which other players may not get. "He worried about it himself, however, as I told him, he has to dismiss the press. "Dimitar has had some terrific games for us. He is enjoying his football and he will play on Sunday." Arguably, Berbatov has started the season in a more consistent vein of form than at any time since his big-money move to Old Trafford. He currently tops the United scoring charts with four and Ferguson admitted he may have made an error leaving the 29-year-old out of his squad for Tuesday's Champions League stalemate with Rangers, when his invention could have been very useful. As it turned out, aside from United's failure to overcome Rangers' smothering tactics, the game was most notable for Antonio Valencia's horrific ankle injury. Immediately after the incident, the combination of a dislocation and a fracture left Ferguson to state his winger was out for the season. But following an operation on Wednesday afternoon, it seems the damage is not quite that bad. "You can never be 100% accurate in these situations and it is a bad injury, but we are looking at the end of February," said the United boss. "The operation has been successful and the break was clean, which was the major concern for us at the time. "He is a strong boy, who is very positive about it. "Being positive helps you in these situations, so we are very hopeful we will get him back." Ferguson, who has no other injury concerns ahead of Sunday's blockbuster duel with Liverpool at Old Trafford, accepts the loss of Valencia is a significant blow. However, in Nani, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-sung, plus to a lesser extent, Gabriel Obertan and new-boy Bebe, who made his reserve team debut last night, he feels United have the options to cope. "Antonio had a great season last year," he said. "He was a great signing for us. He is a young player who has been improving all the time. "It is a blow losing good players but in the context of the kind of squad we have, we should be able to cope with it. "You always fear when you have a good player out of your team it is going to be a loss. "But having players like Nani, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-sung, plus Gabriel Obertan and Bebe means we have options." What will benefit Valencia as he begins the long fight for fitness is a positive mindset. That was never better exemplified than by Alan Smith, who suffered similar misfortune during an FA Cup tie at Liverpool in 2006, but whose mental toughness astounded even Ferguson. "There is a mental part to it," he said. "Take the example of Alan Smith. When Alan got his bad injury in that cup-tie against Liverpool, he was so positive. "He sat in that treatment room at Anfield so nonchalant and relaxed about it. "Yet you look at his ankle and think 'God Almighty'. "That attitude definitely helped him."
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