Manchester United Must Be 'F--king Better' Than Last Year, Says Dimitar Berbatov

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 16, 2019

BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 03:  Manchester United Club legends Dimitar Berbatov attends a press conference during Manchester United Creates New Online & Offline Experiences To Engage Fans In China on July 3, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Fred Lee/Getty Images

Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has said his only hope for his old side heading into the 2019-20 campaign is that they're "f--king better" than last season.

The Red Devils finished sixth for the second time in three seasons at the end of 2018-19, but expectations are higher after they started the new term with a 4-0 throttling of Chelsea on Sunday.

Berbatov told the Daily Star (h/t Goal's Chris Burton) what needs to happen at Old Trafford this season, with his former team set to take part in the UEFA Europa League after missing out on the UEFA Champions League:

"There's only one thing I'd like to see—a better performance than last season. The way we finished was disappointing. So this season, hopefully they can perform better. Not only one player but everybody as a group. They must say to themselves 'okay, we need to be f--king better.'"

The 38-year-old left Old Trafford in 2012 but made a significant impact during his four-year spell with United, winning two Premier League titles, one League Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.

The win over Chelsea suggests United can do better in 2019-20. Marcus Rashford scored twice during that game, and Berbatov recently commented on Paul Pogba's assist for his second as evidence as to why he must stay, as Goal shared:

Goal @goal

Berbatov: "Zidane would love to bring Pogba to Real Madrid but, against Chelsea, we saw why Solskjaer is determined to keep him. “Pogba's perfect pass to Rashford for United's third goal was what I call 'pure football'." 🎯🎯🎯 https://t.co/xjJqpY7aPU

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the club midway through last season and showed promise early on. However, United ended the campaign losing eight of their final 12 games.

They kept just two home clean sheets in the league last season, giving Sunday's rather one-sided scoreline extra significance.

Summer signing Daniel James came off the bench to score a debut goal against Chelsea, while Anthony Martial's strike proved his finishing touch, as NBC Sports shared (U.S. only):

NBC Sports Soccer @NBCSportsSoccer

Anthony Martial makes it 2! Watch the match now on NBCSN, or stream here: https://t.co/xhQ2aTI0NC https://t.co/xebnuzQ8A5

Berbatov recently spoke to Betfair (h/t Burton) and praised United's summer signings in defence, as well as complimenting Martial on his potential to emerge as a star man up front.

Martial, 23, scored 12 times in 38 appearances last season but is still hoping to beat the career-best tally of 17, which he managed in 2015-16—his debut season at United.

Harry Maguire's impact could be massive at Old Trafford too. He was named man of the match against Chelsea despite Rashford's brace and Pogba's two assists.

Journalist Jamie Jackson recently appeared on Love Sport Radio and predicted the former Leicester City's arrival will have a drastic improvement upon United's back line:

Love Sport Radio @lovesportradio

🔴 @JamieJackson___ thinks Harry Maguire's aerial dominance will totally transform #MUFC's defence. #MUFC 📞 WhatsApp - 0208 70 20 558 📲 Listen - https://t.co/XWhRQh9myF https://t.co/RmDsmJAmPb

Berbatov is studying his UEFA coaching badges and could eye a future in management, with the Old Trafford touchline a possible dream destination for the United fan favourite.