Dimitar Berbatov reveals key ‘mistake’ Rasmus Hojlund has made at Manchester United | Football


Dimitar Berbatov is backing Rasmus Hojlund to come good (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Rasmus Hojlund must avoid ‘complicating’ his game and needs to stay ‘strong in the head’ to turn his fortunes around in front of goal at Manchester United.

That’s according to Dimitar Berbatov, who admits he sympathises with the Dane’s struggles to find the back of the net this term.

Hojlund has netted six times since joining the club in a £72million deal from Atalanta last summer, but only one of those has come in the Premier League.

That sole effort came during Hojlund’s last Premier League appearance, when he scored the winner in a 3-2 comeback win against Aston Villa.

The 20-year-old has won over supporters with his work ethic and tenacity, but he was guilty of missing several chances during a 2-0 win against Wigan in the FA Cup on Monday night.

United take on Tottenham on Sunday, with the Red Devils needing a win to close the gap on Ange Postecoglou’s side to five points.

And, ahead of the clash between two of his former sides, Betfair Ambassador Berbatov says Hojlund needs to remain patient in front of goal and to avoid dropping deep to get involved in the play.

Berbatov sympathises with Hojlund (Picture: Betfair)

Berbatov sympathises with Hojlund (Picture: Betfair)

‘If you judge him on the goals he’s scoring so far obviously he’s not scoring enough goals. Everybody can see that, especially him,’ Berbatov told Metro.co.uk.

‘But because of this I think in his mind – because I have been there and know exactly how it feels – sometimes you can think “What is happening? Why am I not scoring goals?’ Am I good enough? Am I going to score again regularly?”‘.

‘That’s why it’s normal in a situation like this. My advice is to stay strong in the head. Don’t think like this. It’s difficult to do but don’t think negatively. The best thing he can do is go to the training pitch and start again. Start again, start again and start again. It’s hard sometimes but he’s got to put the ball between the posts and practice. That’s it, nothing major. Don’t try to overdo stuff.

‘When the game comes he needs to be strong in the head. The pressure comes because everyone is watching you on television and around the world, you know this. It’s more pressure on you but you must be strong in the head and stay motivated. You must not be afraid of getting into goalscoring opportunities. The moment you start to hide from the ball is the worst thing you can do. He must always look for the ball.’

Luton, Everton and Nottingham Forest have all scored more goals in the Premier League than United this term, with Ten Hag’s side managing just 22 goals in 20 matches.

While finishing has been a problem, the service to Hojlund has rarely been good enough.

Berbatov admits he feels for Hojlund given the lack of crosses coming his way, but says the Dane shouldn’t alter his game.

Manchester United v Brentford FC - Premier League

Hojlund’s managed just one league goal. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

‘When you watch the games you see the service is there or when it is there, the quality is not there,’ continued Berbatov.

‘Because of this sometimes – and I am looking at him when he plays – he is getting irritated and he wants to get even more involved. Then he starts to do other stuff and complicates his game. Then he gets tired and when he gets to be in the position to use his power and be fresh, he is tired!

‘His brain is not working properly to give the signal to the body and he can then miss a goalscoring opportunity. But it is what it is right now at Manchester United. Let’s hope the service will come and he will be there. He can’t complicate it or get irritated, just keeping make your runs between the defenders and be ready. If it’s just one chance in the game he must be concentrated when the ball comes to his feet, be ready to score.’

‘Of course I sympathise with him because I’ve been in exactly the same place in the same team in the same position. I know how difficult it is to get out of that cycle but the good thing for him is that he is very young and football is ahead of him. At the same time he needs to start scoring goals, that’s the main thing, that’s what strikers are judged on. I don’t care how! Whether it’s ugly goals or whatever, just put the goals in the net and then everybody will be happy.’


Hojlund has netted six times this season (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite his struggles, Berbatov has seen enough of Hojlund to be impressed by the Dane.

The Bulgarian believes Hojlund has all the assets to succeed at Old Trafford and says his own fortunes will improve when United’s form picks up.

‘He is very young. He’s very aggressive on the pitch, very quick. He has a great shot with both feet and he’s dangerous in the air but again he must work even harder now because he’s in the Premier League,’ said Berbatov.

‘This is a different league. The tempo, the fans, the defenders that you’re going to face. He must work and up his game even more. Time is on his side so he must do it as soon as possible because when you’re growing up you’re going to benefit from the work you’re putting in now. The service around you needs to be good because you depend on them to give you the ball. You’re not Messi or Maradona that can go from one goal to the other with the ball. That’s why it’s a tricky situation when the team is not playing well.’

To hear more from Betfair’s Dimitar Berbatov, listen to him on this week’s Football…Only Bettor podcast here: 

MORE : Gary Neville claims £70m Casemiro signing ‘should never have gone through’ at Manchester United

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