Pep Guardiola insisted Manchester City are not experiencing a personality crisis as he aimed a startling put-down at former Manchester United stars Patrice Evra and Dimitar Berbatov.

The City manager was riled by criticism from Evra and Berbatov, now both working as pundits, after City surrendered a winning position to go out at Real Madrid's hands in the Champions League semi-finals.

Evra claimed Guardiola "can’t train people with personality", while Berbatov offered a response that was not far from Guardiola's own assessment, albeit saying City "had to be more concentrated and focused" in the closing moments.

There was also criticism from former Milan and Madrid star Clarence Seedorf, who said City lacked the necessary "mentality" to come through such a test, comparing them to Paris Saint-Germain.

City were 5-3 ahead on aggregate going into the closing minutes against Madrid on May 4, only to concede a quickfire double to Rodrygo, before Karim Benzema hit a penalty winner in extra time.

It was a dizzying turnaround at the Santiago Bernabeu, but City have responded by thrashing Newcastle United 5-0 and picking apart Wolves 5-1 to reassert their Premier League supremacy over Champions League finalists Liverpool.

Guardiola denies City have any issues with their attitude, saying the approach that brought the back-to-back heavy league wins was "the same character that lost to Madrid in the last two or three minutes".

"The former players like Dimitar Berbatov, Clarence Seedorf, Patrice Evra... these type of people they were there," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City's clash with West Ham on Sunday.

"I played against them and I didn't see this kind of personality when we destroyed them in the Champions League final against United."

That was an apparent reference to Guardiola's Barcelona beating United 2-0 in the 2009 Champions League final, when Evra and Berbatov both featured on the losing team at the Stadio Olimpico as the Catalan giants sealed a treble. The teams also met at the same stage in 2011, but Berbatov was not involved in that game, which the Blaugrana won 3-1.

"[They say] we don't have personality because we concede in the last minutes, and after the last two games we have personality," Guardiola added.

"Personality is what we have done in the last five years. Maybe Liverpool is going to win all four titles or just one. Am I going to say they don't have personality or that they had a bad season?

"Of course they have and of course they are good, but sometimes in football, it happens.

"It is football, you cannot control it. When you always arrive in the latter stages, semi-finals, finals, it is incredible. This for me, because we arrive until the end, playing a lot of games, this is the most important thing."

Manchester United have to be "dreaming" of landing players like Erling Haaland says Dimitar Berbatov, who also defended Cristiano Ronaldo's recent performances for the Red Devils.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick was recently filmed on a video clip posted to social media saying "Who? What are you dreaming at night?!" in response to a fan asking if United were going to sign Borussia Dortmund star Haaland.

The Norway striker certainly has no shortage of suitors with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona all heavily linked with the superstar forward.

With United way off the pace in the Premier League and firmly remaining outsiders in the hunt for the Champions League, Rangnick was perhaps not too far wide of the mark when suggesting Haaland is out of reach for now.

But former United striker Berbatov believes Haaland is the kind of player United have to once again think about signing to restore their standing among the elite clubs in Europe.

"I saw the video going around social media of Ralf Rangnick laughing off Erling Haaland signing for United," Berbatov told Betfair, in quotes reported by several British newspapers.

"He told a fan that they 'must be dreaming' about signing him, maybe that's a sign that they can't afford him or it's not possible for him to move to the club at this moment in time when they aren't producing good enough football to get his interest, maybe that's what he meant.

"For me they need to go back to those high standards of performance that they used to set, so that they can attract big players.

"Everybody wants him in summer and maybe Rangnick was being realistic. It's not a great look, though, and in this day and age you have to be careful because you can end up in a moment where you need to explain yourself.

"You must be mad to not want a player like Haaland in your team, so maybe Ralf Rangnick should start dreaming."

One superstar whose future at United remains a little unclear is veteran forward Ronaldo, who made a sensational return to Old Trafford in August.

Ronaldo is United's top scorer this season but he has netted only once in 2022, while his comeback has coincided with a campaign that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked and persistent rumours of dressing room unrest among the squad.

Berbatov, though, suggested the 37-year-old is allowed to have bad games and said the onus is on his team-mates to produce the goods when he is not playing at his best.

"When teams have a bad result the star players always end up with the blame, and at the minute with Manchester United, that's Cristiano Ronaldo," said Berbatov, who played alongside Ronaldo during his four years at Old Trafford.

"At the moment he's got just one goal in 10 games and that seems problematic for everybody, but not for me.

"There are eleven players on the pitch and the blame should be shared. Ronaldo is an icon in the world of football and people need to remember that he's 37.

"So, from time to time he is allowed to have a couple of bad games. But I don't think that is the problem here.

"People need to be realistic with him and they need to know that it's totally different when you're 37 to being 27.

"He is going to have moments when he needs his team-mates to produce more for him, that's normal in football. Ronaldo is a total professional and he will speak to the manager and he will want to produce more.

"Everybody in the United team needs to produce more, the standards should be a lot higher than they are.

"Ronaldo is also a realistic guy, he will know that his performances aren't where he wants them to be, even though he's older and his game is totally different, he sets very high standards. I don't think that needs explaining to him."

Manchester United midfield outcast Donny Van de Beek has been described as "one of the most disappointing transfers ever" by former Red Devils star Dimitar Berbatov.

Van de Beek arrived from Ajax amid plenty of fanfare ahead of the 2020-21 season but the Netherlands international has continued to be overlooked by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 24-year-old has been an unused substitute in United's opening two Premier League games of the 2021-22 campaign, having made just four starts in the league last term.

Van de Beek's agent Guido Albers said the Dutchman has been given "clarity" over his United future by Solskjaer, who insisted the former Ajax star is an "important" part of his plans.

Berbatov – who won two Premier League titles among other honours during his time at United – believes Van de Beek should leave Old Trafford if he is unhappy.

"The transfer window closes on Tuesday and, while United have done well to bring in some good players, I still think there may be some action to come with outgoings," Berbatov wrote in his Betfair column. "I don't think we're going to see any more playing time from Donny van de Beek.

"It's a really strange, disappointing and surprising situation. They spent around £35million on him and, to pay that for a player who isn't starting many games, doesn't make sense. I'm not blaming the player at all, but for me it's one of the most disappointing transfers ever."

United won three and lost one of the four games Van de Beek started in the league last season for a 75 per cent win rate.

That drops to 52.9 per cent in the other 34 matches the Red Devils started without the Dutchman, while their average goals scored fell from 2.3 with Van de Beek to 1.9 without.

Van de Beek led the way for United in the Premier League in 2020-21 in terms of tackles won per 90 minutes (1.75), meanwhile, and Paul Pogba (2.09) was the only midfielder to play more than once to complete more dribbles per 90 minutes than Van de Beek's 1.4.

"He has got a lot of quality," Berbatov added. "I don't like it when clubs buy for the sake of buying and this is one of those situations. I'm sure he's banging on the manager's door and asking questions.

"I think if he's not happy, Van de Beek should push to leave. His place in the national team is at risk, especially now with Louis van Gaal in charge. Van Gaal is a disciplinarian who like his players to play football.

"Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are untouchable in the United midfield at the moment. Scott McTominay, Fred and even 33-year-old Nemanja Matic are ahead of van de Beek.

"I know how Van de Beek feels. In the late stage of my career I was playing in Greece, the president wanted me and signed me, but the coach didn't want me and we had some issues. It is frustrating for a player. He needs to have a long hard think about his situation and what he wants."

Son Heung-min's prolific partnership with Harry Kane is "a joy to watch" for former Tottenham star Dimitar Berbatov.

The Spurs duo have struck up a lethal alliance which has been taken to a new level this season, helping to propel Jose Mourinho's men into a potential Premier League title battle.

With an EFL Cup final spot also secured, things are looking up for the London club where Berbatov plied his trade between 2006 and 2008.

And the Bulgarian was full of praise for Son and Kane, who have combined for a record-equalling 13 top-flight goals this term, with less than half the season played.

"Is there any more strong word than impressive in English? No. Because you're right – it's a joy to watch them," Berbartov told Stats Perform News.

"Both of them, how they find each other, how they free the space with each other, how there is no selfishness, when someone needs to play to the other so they can score goals.

"They, in my opinion, know their strong qualities, and they take advantage of it.

"How do you build that? Depends on the players in question. For example, me and Keano [Robbie Keane] back in the day, we had a really good understanding as well for Spurs.

"But he knew me because I was a very private man, I was difficult to let anyone go into my circle outside of the training pitch and in the games, and he knew that and respected that.

"And because of this, I give him my respect back and on the pitch, we just clicked.

"Good players can always find a way to play with each other and make each other better. Spurs now have Kane and Son which, in my opinion, the whole team have better quality than when we used to be there.

"Both of these players are unbelievable talents."

The pair first appeared together in September 2015 against Sunderland, with Son's maiden assist for Kane coming in a Europa League match with FK Qarabag two months later.

Kane did not return the favour until January 2017, with an assist for Son in a league match versus Manchester City.

Their tally of 33 goal combinations in the Premier League is just three behind the all-time record held by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba at Chelsea.

England captain Kane is by far the club's leading scorer in the Premier League, with 155 goals in 225 outings, adding 31 assists into the mix.

Son's numbers are also remarkable, the South Korean having netted 65 times in 178 appearances, with 35 assists bringing him to 100 total goal involvements.

Both are in the hunt for the 2020-21 Golden Boot with 12 apiece, trailing leading scorer Mohamed Salah by only one, with their form helping Tottenham into fifth place.

Dimitar Berbatov hopes the "soap opera" surrounding Paul Pogba's future is at an end after becoming increasingly influential for Manchester United.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola revealed in December - with a crucial Champions League clash with RB Leipzig looming on the horizon - that he expected the Frenchman to leave Old Trafford in 2021, albeit not during the January transfer window.

The midfielder, who is under contract until 2022, has by no means been a regular starter this season, though his impact on the team has grown considerably in recent weeks.

His winning goal against Burnley sent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side top of the Premier League - a position they retained on Sunday thanks to a 0-0 draw away at reigning champions Liverpool.

Pogba was unable to take a late opportunity at Anfield that could have secured all three points, yet former Red Devil Berbatov has been impressed by what he has seen from a player he knows well.

"It's been a long time since I've seen him open on the pitch fighting, intercepting, reading the game," Berbatov told Stats Perform News.

"In the game against Liverpool, again, he continued on that trend for me. He was solid on the pitch again, trying to read and control the game, defending and intercepting.

"The chance that fell to him was because he was again in the box trying to score, though it didn't happen this time. Next time, it's going to happen.

"But as I said many times before, I hope that the TV soap opera over him - whether he's going or staying - is going to end, and we're not going to speak about that.

"I would like him to stay because I knew him back in the day, he was coming to train with us when he was still very young. You could see the talent straight away.

"If he's concentrated 100 per cent for the team, then he's on a level I think not many players can reach in the way he does."

United did not manage a shot on target in the first half against Liverpool, the first time they had failed to do so in a Premier League fixture since December 2019.

However, they posed a far greater attacking threat as the game wore on, Pogba and Bruno Fernandes drawing smart saves out of Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson after the break.

For Berbatov, the crucial aspect for the visitors was not to be beaten by potential title rivals.

"United had a good game, a solid game. I think I said before the game to a couple of reporters that for them it was going to be important not to lose," said the Bulgarian, who won the Premier League twice during his time at United.

"They had good chances to score in the game as well, especially Pogba. That chance was probably the best one in the game, one where I was almost screaming, but it didn't happen.

"But it was a solid performance, especially in defence, tactically the discipline was there on the pitch. As I said, a couple of chances to score came up, as well.

"Probably, if you look from the perspective of a neutral, you can say that the draw was okay for both teams."

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