Manchester United's players must "be f***ing better" if they are to put last season's forgettable campaign behind them, according to their former striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men won only one of their final seven Premier League matches in 2018-19 to finish down in sixth place.

That terrible run started with a 2-1 loss to Wolves at Molineux in April, having also suffered a 2-0 defeat at the same ground in the FA Cup quarter-finals the previous month.

However, United started the new season in a positive manner with a 4-0 win against Chelsea last weekend and Berbatov hopes lessons have been learned ahead of Monday's return to Molineux.

"There's only one thing I'd like to see - a better performance than last season," he told the Daily Star. "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, 'OK, we need to be f***ing better'."

Including a penalties win over AC Milan, United enjoyed a clean sweep of victories during pre-season, with new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James both impressing.

Berbatov, who spent four seasons at Old Trafford, wants to see that winning run continue in the Premier League.

"When I saw them [against Inter] in Singapore, what I saw impressed me," he said of the younger players in Solskjaer's squad. "But friendlies are different to Premier League games.

"Sometimes you play more freely in friendlies because there's no pressure. But when the season starts, the nerves start working. Negative thinking starts - but it needs to stop."

Dimitar Berbatov feels criticism of Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku is unfair and hopes the Belgian stays at Old Trafford.

Lukaku joined United from Everton in a £75million deal in 2017, scoring 28 goals in 66 Premier League games since then, but his performances have been much maligned.

The former Chelsea man has been heavily linked with a switch to Inter as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shakes up his United squad ahead of the new season.

But Berbatov, who played under Alex Ferguson for four years at United, would prefer to see Lukaku remain at the club.

"I hope Lukaku is staying because he's a good player and the criticism he's facing is not fair," he told the Straits Times.

However, Berbatov believes United would have the firepower to cope with Lukaku's departure, backing Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford for big seasons.

"I am calm because I like Martial a lot," he said. "I used to play with him in Monaco a lot and I know that he is really good and that he can be even better.

"I like Rashford as well; he can develop and become even better."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to take Manchester United forward, according to former Red Devils striker Dimitar Berbatov, who warned that keeping the job will be tough.

The Norwegian coach rounded off a satisfying week by watching his side beat Watford 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday, two days after being give the manager's job on a permanent basis.

Solskjaer presided over a run of just three defeats, two draws and 14 wins in all competitions before getting the nod on a full-time basis and Berbatov predicts his job will get harder.

"I said before that even before they gave him [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] the [permanent] job, he earned it because of the results he achieved," Berbatov told the media after appearing in a Tottenham legends game in a test event at the club's new stadium. 

"You see the way the team is playing, everybody sticks together, I think it was the right decision. Of course, now begins the difficult part to keep the job because now it's yours to lose it."

United have lost just once in 14 Premier League matches since Solskjaer took charge of the team, but face a tough run of fixtures as they seek to pip Tottenham to third place in the final weeks of the season.

With Manchester City and Chelsea both still to come to Old Trafford, Berbatov told Solskjaer that the pressure will build the longer he stays in one of world football's top jobs.

"The pressure is going to be even more but it is always like that at Manchester United," said Berbatov.

"You're at the biggest club so you need to play and win."

Former Tottenham midfielder Darren Anderton has described the club's new stadium as the best he has ever played, as the plaudits for the new venue continue to roll in.

More than 40,000 fans attended a special fixture between Spurs and Inter legends at the club's new ground on Saturday in a match held as the second test event ahead of the first official game between Mauricio Pochettino's side and Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Greats including Jurgen Klinsmann, Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov, David Ginola, Rafael van der Vaart and Paul Gascoigne turned out for Spurs, who lost 5-4 to an Inter side featuring Julio Cesar, Javier Zanetti, Laurent Blanc, Juan Sebastian Veron and Nicola Ventola.

Anderton, who was also involved, was left amazed by his old club's new surroundings.

"It's an amazing stadium, the best I've ever played in and even seen," the former England midfielder said. "It is definitely one of the best in the world and the atmosphere was unreal. It really does reverberate around the place."

Klinsmann, who had two spells with Spurs in 1994-95 and 1997-98, said: "The stadium is amazing, simply amazing. I hope the fans will enjoy it as much as I did. And I hope the fans will enjoy a future full of excitement, and obviously trophies.

"Just walking into the stadium, you sense it's something for the future, so I keep my fingers crossed. They will make it their home, they will make it their new place. It's a very, very special stadium.

"For the players, it's a temple. If you can play in a place like that, they will be thrilled. It's all set for a bright future."

Former striker Keane said: "It's definitely up there with one of the best, it has really a good feeling to it as well, when you walk out it has a White Hart Lane feeling to it, there's a spirit of that. It was fantastic, the pitch was amazing."

Ginola, who starred at White Hart Lane between 1997 and 2000, said: "The stadium is looking amazing. Hopefully, cross fingers, things are going to be fine for the club and now moving forward, no playing at Wembley anymore - except if you play the FA Cup final! Or any finals.

"But I think it's going to be fun to restart a little bit with your home, your home soil."

Berbatov added: "It was loud, and the atmosphere was even more close and intense. I'm sure visiting teams will experience that and it's going to help Spurs in the games as well."

Dimitar Berbatov said he would love to see Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt at Manchester United as the former striker warned manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "the difficult work starts now".

Solskjaer was rewarded with a three-year deal on Thursday after impressing United during his caretaker period, having replaced Jose Mourinho in December.

With Solskjaer's future sorted, talk has now turned to transfers and United's plans for the 2019-20 season, with the likes of Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice among those linked.

Defence appears to be an area of concern – dating back to the start of the season as former boss Mourinho tried to sign Leicester City's Harry Maguire and Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld – and Berbatov talked up the prospect of Ajax captain and Barcelona target De Ligt.

"United have spent a lot of money in recent seasons, so they need to make sure they don't spend for spending's sake; they need to think carefully about what they need and choose wisely," Berbatov told Betfair.

"In attack, with [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial, [Romelu] Lukaku and [Jesse] Lingard, they have everything they need, but I think they need to focus on two areas; central defence and a central midfielder who can free up Paul Pogba to play in attacking areas.

"We've seen lots of names mentioned as a potential defender signing, with Maguire and Alderweireld consistently linked, and I like them both - they're solid and comfortable bringing the ball out of defence.

"One player I would love to see at Old Trafford is Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, although I know every big club in Europe is after him. I watched him play against Real Madrid and he looks the real deal - so confident and assured for a player of his age.

"Having his international team-mate Virgil van Dijk already in the Premier League could be a boost for any English team chasing De Ligt. The Liverpool man will be telling him how good the league is and that can make a real difference to where you choose to go."

United are fifth in the Premier League – two points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal with eight games remaining, while they are also preparing for a Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona next month.

On Solskjaer's permanent position, Berbatov added: "Getting the job is a brilliant first step, but in many ways the difficult work starts now. The pressure is going to be huge - Ole will now be fighting to keep the job, rather than get it.

"I've heard the argument that United were holding off appointing Solskjaer full-time to keep the players hungry, but there is no way they will take their foot off the pedal - these are top professionals and they have loads to play for.

"The aim this season will be to get in that top four - and as far as they can in the Champions League of course - but come next season they need to be targeting the title. This is Manchester United we are talking about! Ole has had the chance to look at the team this season and he absolutely needs to be fighting for all the big prizes next season."

Gareth Bale should leave Real Madrid and move back to the Premier League, according to his former Tottenham team-mate Dimitar Berbatov.

Bale has endured another injury-hit season at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he came off the bench to score a winning penalty against Levante on Sunday.

The Wales forward did not celebrate and shrugged off Lucas Vazquez's attempted hug, although Santiago Solari insisted he was happy to see Bale's anger at having to settle for a cameo role.

And Berbatov, who spent the 2007-08 season with Bale at White Hart Lane, believes that the 29-year-old should now be looking to make a return to English football, adding that he seems to be a scapegoat for Madrid's issues.

"Another rumour doing the rounds this week has been a Premier League return for Bale and that would be great for everyone here," Berbatov told Betfair.

"Bale seems to get the blame for everything that goes wrong at Madrid, which is unfair.

"If you look at his stats he is still performing, but he is the whipping boy for some reason.

"And, as a player, if you don't feel appreciated, then you have to move on."

Berbatov was not sure where Bale would move, but insisted there would be no shortage of suiters, even if Madrid demanded a nine-figure sum, though he acknowledged a return to Tottenham seems unlikely.

"Where would he go? It's a question of money first of course," Berbatov said.

"I'm not sure Tottenham can afford over £100m on a player, but Bale is a world-class talent who could play for anyone and it would be great to see him back."

Former Manchester United star Dimitar Berbatov urged supporters to go easy on the Romelu Lukaku criticism following a difficult run, adamant he offers more than just goals.

Dimitar Berbatov says Manchester United's history and tradition made it easy to dismiss a lucrative offer to join Manchester City in 2008. 

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