Pogba return can inspire Man Utd to top-four finish - Berbatov


Dimitar Berbatov has backed Paul Pogba to inspire Manchester United towards a top-four finish after recovering from a long-term injury layoff.

Pogba has been restricted to just eight appearances for United in 2019-20, with a persistent ankle injury limiting his contribution.

The 27-year-old underwent surgery on the injury in January, and was still in recovery when the coronavirus outbreak stopped play in the English top flight on March 13.

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The World Cup winner has stepped up his rehabilitation while in self-isolation, making his way back to full fitness in time for United's return to full contact training.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men currently sit fifth in the top-flight standings, three points adrift of Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot.

United will be looking to close that gap when the action resumes on June 17, and Berbatov thinks Pogba's return will help raise collective confidence levels heading into their final nine fixtures.

The former Red Devils striker told Betfair : "United have had a huge boost in Paul Pogba returning to fitness. It is great news for the team.

"The dangerous thing is that he hasn't played for so long, so hopefully he has prepared well and he will be ready to play at 100% again. Is he going to start?

"I'm not too sure, coming back from a long injury may impact him starting, it will be interesting to see if Solskjaer puts him straight into the battle. I'm sure if the manager asks Pogba how he feels and if he is ready, then Paul will say 'of course I am ready.'

"It will be the first time we get to see [Bruno] Fernandes and Pogba play together and it will be interesting to see if they can hit it off, they will have had the chance to get to know each other in training but that is totally different to a game.

"It could be a great partnership and I am sure that Pogba's return is a massive boost and will give huge confidence to the whole team. One player doesn't define a team, but when you have good, quality, confident players putting all their effort in to help the team then you are going to succeed."

Solskjaer saw his side embark on an 11-match unbeaten run before the season was called to a halt, but Berbatov says they cannot allow complacency to creep in as they bid to leapfrog Chelsea.

He added: "Make no mistake, this is a massive opportunity for United and they know it. Hopefully, they will be prepared for that challenge because three points are nothing, if they win their first game back and Chelsea slip up then the three points aren't an issue anymore, it can be as easy as that.

"But on the other hand, if United slip up and Chelsea win it will be six points, so they also have to be careful, there can be no room for error."

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