Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to give Dimitar Berbatov central role
Berbatov, 28, has yet to display the form that prompted Ferguson to spend a club record £30.75 million to lure him from Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford early last season. A return of just 14 goals in all competitions proved a disappointing haul for a player who enjoyed a strike ratio of almost a goal every other game during his two-year spell at White Hart Lane. However, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez leaving United this summer Berbatov will be expected to raise his output alongside Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen when the new season starts. The former Bayer Leverkusen forward has made an impressive start to the pre-season, scoring twice on the club's Far East tour. And United manager Ferguson, who could pair Berbatov with Owen against Boca Juniors in Munich later today, admits that he must deploy Berbatov as a centre-forward to maximise his goalscoring ability. Ferguson said: "I expected the form that we have seen from Berbatov so far in pre-season. "Last season was a strange one for him and maybe we didn't use him in the right way. "But we know exactly how to use him now, further up the pitch, playing as a centre -forward. "I really think Berbatov will have a terrific season for us." Having scored 16 goals in four games in the Far East, United will step up in class when they face Boca in the Audi Cup at the Allianz Arena. The Buenos Aires outfit, coached by former Argentina coach Alfio Basile, are inspired by playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, who Ferguson admits is a player he has long admired. Ferguson said: "I know all about Boca Juniors. If you can't sleep on a Friday night and turn on your television, you will see them at three o'clock in the morning. "We played them a few years ago at Old Trafford and it was a very competitive game. We expect the same this time, but we do our homework. "Everyone knows about Riquelme after his spell at Villarreal and we watched him many times. "We thought him an interesting player, but for some reason, he just passed us by." Ferguson said that the Audi Cup will offer a better assessment of United's pre-season progress than the games against less formidable opposition in Asia. He said: "When Bayern Munich organise a tournament of this significance we expect a great platform for the players. "We are in real football now after our time in the Far East. You hope to get your tempo and fitness over there but this is where the proper work starts."
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