FERGUSON SETS 25-GOAL TARGET FOR BERBATOV
AFTER Manchester United's record signing kept its Premier League title campaign on track with a double to beat Sunderland on Boxing Day, Alex Ferguson has set Dimitar Berbatov a 25-goal target for the season.
Berbatov scored both in a 2-0 victory far more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests, with even Black Cats' boss, Steve Bruce, admitting that his side deserved nothing from a one-sided contest. It took the Bulgarian to 13 league goals for a campaign where Wayne Rooney has not managed one from open play.
But Ferguson is demanding more from the £30.75 million man. Ferguson said of Berbatov's omission from the starting line-up against Arsenal a fortnight ago, even though he scored five on his previous outing: 'There are certain games when we like to play one up front and three central midfield players, Dimitar understands that.
'But his form has been terrific. He is on 13 goals now. If he can get us to 25, we need one more to get around that figure, then we will have a good chance.'
Certainly, Berbatov will not be allowed to rest on his laurels by Patrice Evra, who revealed that he was always on the 29-year-old's back, demanding more. The Frenchman said: 'I keep moaning at him when he doesn't score in training.
'But he always says 'don't worry, I will score in the game'. He showed me that. He is working hard. He is a good guy and is different class.'
Without seven key players due to injury, sickness, suspension and ineligibility in the case of Danny Welbeck, Sunderland never stood a chance of repeating its sensational three-goal triumph over Chelsea last month. Bruce said: 'I have heard it said that United are not playing that well.
'Well, they are unbeaten for six months, so that is not a bad statistic, is it? They are top of the league, with games in hand, and history suggests they always get better in the second half of the season.'