Former Red Devils striker Dimitar Berbatov, who also turned out for Tottenham and Fulham in England, admits an Old Trafford new boy faces a tough test
Harry Maguire is preparing to be reunited with Leicester City, and the Manchester United new boy has been informed by Dimitar Berbatov that “playing against your old club is sh*t”.
The England international centre-half bid farewell to the Foxes over the summer, with a record-breaking £80 million ($100m) transfer taking him to Old Trafford.
He is now preparing to turn out at the Theatre of Dreams against the side which helped to make him the most expensive defender in world football.
It promises to be an emotional occasion for Maguire, with there set to be plenty of familiar faces lining up for the opposition.
Putting friendships to one side will not be easy, with former United striker Berbatov – who also turned out for Tottenham and Fulham in the Premier League – admitting that such occasions can be testing on a professional level.
He told Betfair: “United have a tough match against Leicester at Old Trafford on Saturday. It could be a particularly difficult one for Harry Maguire who joined them from Leicester in August.
“Playing against your old club is shit. It’s very difficult to spend two seasons somewhere – as Maguire did at Leicester and I did at Spurs – showing what you can do then get a big move and have to play against your old teammates with whom you’re probably still in touch.
“As hard as you try to be professional, friendships can sometimes get in the way.”
United need Maguire to be fully focused as they have gone three games without a win since blowing away Chelsea 4-0 on the opening weekend.
Berbatov added on the ongoing inconsistency of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side: “United’s performance against Southampton last time out [in a 1-1 draw] was not what I want to see from United.
“They need a win but that can make for a tense atmosphere and prevent you playing good football.
“It will be interesting to see which United players go looking for the ball on Saturday. I really hope they start as if they’re desperate to win.
“An early goal would ease the tension but Maguire and his teammates will need to keep it tight at the back, as they failed to hold on to the lead at Southampton.”
While wanting to see a domestic spark from United, Berbatov is also looking for the Red Devils to take continental competition seriously this season – with a Europa League campaign set to be opened against Astana on Thursday.
The Bulgarian added: “When people ask me if United will try to win the Europa League, I think, why wouldn’t they?
“United need to win a trophy this season. The club’s high standards demands that they go all out to win every competition they enter so I expect them to try to win the Europa League.
“It would be a great achievement and an invaluable experience for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his young players.
“It might also be United’s best hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League and, while playing on Thursday can have a consequences for a team’s Premier League form, they should use all their power to try to win this competition.”
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