Belfast Telegraph

Fulham 2 - 0 Aston Villa: Berbatov praised as Cottagers secure win

Rene Meulensteen believes Dimitar Berbatov demonstrated his commitment to the Fulham cause with a sparkling performance in yesterday's 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

Berbatov was the lynchpin as Fulham ended a run of six straight league defeats, teeing up Steve Sidwell for a well-taken opener before coolly dispatching a penalty he had helped win.

The 32-year-old was equal parts focal point and playmaker as Fulham recorded a first win for new boss Meulensteen, who has replaced Martin Jol.

Berbatov's agent last week confirmed his client is "not happy" at Craven Cottage and will seek a move in the January transfer window.

Meulensteen hailed Berbatov's focus in leading the line despite being unsettled, although the former Manchester United coach refused to discuss his star forward's long-term future.

Meulensteen said: "I think the word is focus, anyone who has a good focus will know what the job is in hand, and you focus on the performance.

"He makes a difference. I thought he was excellent (in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham) on Wednesday as well, and today again you saw what he was capable of doing to our opponents.

"I just had a good chat with him, he's not a stranger to me, we know what games we have coming up all the way to January, and he's fully committed to Fulham and the games we've got ahead of us.

"I'm just focusing on the games up until January.

"I couldn't be more delighted with his performance, it shows that he cares.

"The most important thing is that the players should be delighted with themselves."

Asked about Berbatov's likely prospects once the January transfer window opens, Meulensteen said: "I can't, couldn't, wouldn't and don't want to answer that, it's my decision to do that with the people who are relevant to discuss these things."

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