Dimitar Berbatov has hailed Manchester United loanee Odion Ighalo for “proving me wrong”. The January deadline-day signing of Ighalo was derided by pundits and critics but the Shanghai Shenhua loanee has netted three goals in six appearances for the Red Devils.
He netted a brace in Thursday’s FA Cup fifth-round win at Derby County to boost the club’s hopes of a successful season, with their hopes of Europa League glory and a top-four finish also still in progress.
Berbatov told Betfair: “The mood and the spirit of the team is really high right now at Manchester United. The way they play, the goals and the performances are all going in the right direction and you can not take that away from them. I hope that the consistency factor is there with them now, they have a tough test against Manchester City next, but they are in the perfect moment to play them.
“Their confidence is high, they are playing with purpose and hopefully we will see that this weekend.
“United are unbeaten in their last nine matches in all competitions, which is a great run, and they are facing their rival in a very positive moment. The whole team is playing well and seven clean sheets in those previous nine games proves it. Games like this are a bit different because even if you come off the back of three defeats, you are still facing your rivals and find that extra strength to motivate yourself.
“I’m really happy to see that Odion Ighalo is settling in well and he deserves it with the way he is playing, how he links the plays and the goals he is scoring. All the team are happy when he scores which shows he is fully integrated, and I like the way he looks for the ball and bullies the defenders.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about him before he joined, obviously I knew about his record in the Premier League, but I questioned if he was the right man and if he would get into the team, but so far he is doing well and proving me wrong.
“When you need to play more direct in a game you need a presence in the box, a guy who knows how to get onto the end of a ball, bully the defenders and win the ball.
“Ighalo can do that, but he can also play, is technically good as well, he can keep the ball and give it to his teammates and get into the box, that’s why I like him. He doesn’t just stay in the box and try to head the ball. He is linking really well with others and that shows in the team’s performance when he is involved.”
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