Martin Jol calls for Dimitar Berbatov hat-trick on Old Trafford return

Berbatov Fulham

The Fulham manager Martin Jol hopes Dimitar Berbatov scores a hat-trick when the Fulham striker returns to Manchester United for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Old Trafford.

Berbatov was United's record signing, costing £30.75m when he joined from Tottenham Hotspur in 2008. But after an uneven career at the club in which he scored 49 goals in 89 league starts, the Bulgarian was sold to the Cottagers last summer for just £5m.

Jol, asked if he expected a big performance from Berbatov on Saturday, said: "You can write that but don't let me say that. Because if you are going to Man United – they are Man Utd and we are Fulham, away from home. But I would love him to see him score a hat-trick or something over there. But it won't be easy."

Berbatov has managed seven goals in 20 appearances since the move, with the striker often operating behind the front line. "The problem for me with Dimitar is that I need him in midfield and I need him up front," Jol said. "When he plays up front, he doesn't always see a lot of the ball. And then we would like him in midfield because he is a great No10.

"But every time he is in midfield, you lack a front player, so we've got to find the right balance. Sometimes we try to do that with [Hugo] Rodallega and sometimes with [Mladen] Petric but we haven't found the right combination yet."

Jol hopes that once the correct balance is found there will be more goals from Berbatov. "The first three months of the season we scored plenty of goals. Only United had scored more than us at one point," he said. "We played with [Bryan] Ruiz and Petric against Norwich for example and scored five goals. It is about our balance. For the last four weeks Giorgos [Karagounis] played in midfield. I always had Danny Murphy playing there last season."

United's midfielder, Tom Cleverley, reiterated the club's determination to break a nine-year gap since they last won the trophy. "United haven't won the FA Cup for quite a while now," he said. "The last time was in 2004, and it's definitely a trophy I want to win. It means a lot. In fact, we've got a few players in the squad who haven't won anything [major] in this country as yet, including myself, so anything we're involved in I want to win."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jamie Jackson, for guardian.co.uk on Wednesday 23rd January 2013 23.00 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

image: © nicksarebi

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch