Dimitar Berbatov: I'm not lazy..I just make it look so easy
Published 00:00 26/05/09 By By Martin Lipton
Dimitar Berbatov last night insisted he will never change his style as he told the Manchester United fans: "I'm not lazy - I just make everybody else look good!"
The brooding Bulgarian has endured a difficult first season at Old Trafford, his laconic approach appearing in stark contrast with Carlos Tevez's nonstop movement.
While the United fans make their feelings about the exitbound Argentine clear with chants of "Fergie, Fergie, sign him up", Berbatov has found himself regularly jeered.
But the 28-year-old told the booboys they are in the wrong and that nothing will make him try to alter his natural game.
Berbatov, desperate for a starting spot against Barcelona tomorrow, said: "You know when someone has great qualities they don't have to put much effort into things.
"Obviously I am the new guy in the team. When you make a mistake people sometimes go straight for the new guy.
"Sometimes the things I do look effortless but it's not like that. It's very difficult, but because of my style of play I make it look easy. When I get the ball, some people are charging around the field. But that is my role in the team.
"So when I get the ball, the players need to start running then I just feed them the ball.
"And I've seen the statistics that say the most useful guy for the team was me. It made me feel good. I didn't score as many goals as I wanted to but I made the most assists and I feel good."
Berbatov's unyielding selfbelief may perhaps only further antagonise the supporters who expect more from a £30million striker, especially one who has scored just nine league goals since his protracted move from Tottenham.
As far as the striker is concerned, however, it is only a matter of time before the United fans realise they have an acknowledged jewel in their midst.
"Yes, there is always pressure. I am a realistic type of guy and my biggest critic," added Berbatov.
"I know that when they play a lot of money for a player the expectation will be higher, even though sometimes it's ridiculous.
"I am used to that and I know everyone is expecting even more from me. But the only person who can tell me if I need to change is the boss.
"There are certain people who are going to say that, people who don't like me. It's inevitable.
"I know that one million are going to like me and one million are not going to like me. It's always been like that.
"Throughout my career people have said I was not good enough. It was always painful to listen to that but it motivated me to show them they were not right.
"It would be stupid if I was going to laugh all the time. When we won the title I was in the locker room and so happy.
"I don't smile all the time but I smile inside. I am the happiest guy around, trust me.
"I don't like to show my emotions so much.
"The most important thing is when the guys congratulate me. Or the boss says, 'Berba, you've done very well' and slaps me on the face. Then you go home with a smile on your face."
Berbatov hopes to put a smile on the face of every United fan tomorrow night and at the same time make himself feel a true member of Sir Alex Ferguson's team.
For all his claims of selfconfidence, however, Berbatov admitted he is still "haunted" by his only previous taste of the biggest game in club football, part of the Bayer Leverkusen team that was beaten by Real Madrid - after eliminating United in the semi-finals - at Hampden in 2002.
And he was clearly hurt by the reaction to his FA Cup shoot-out failure at Wembley against Everton - so much that he will not be volunteering to put that record straight if, like Moscow a year ago, tomorrow night goes all the way.
"I wasn't angry about that penalty," he maintained. "I know what I did wrong but it's very difficult when you make a mistake and everyone is trying to attack you.
"It hurt a lot and I am not sure I am going to take one in Rome.
"I am part of this team but I don't feel fully part of it because I haven't won the Champions League.
"That's a little bit painful. I was jealous last year because the guys were lifting every Cup in football.
"I thought, 'Come on, I just want to be part of this team and feel what it is to lift the Cup'.
"If we can do that again this year, with me in the team, it will mean so much to me, because then I will feel fully part of the team."