Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson hails five-star Berbatov

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Dimitar Berbatov after Manchester United's record signing ended a 10-game run without a goal by becoming only the fourth player in Premier League history to score five in a game.

The record haul helped United to a 7-1 win over Blackburn, which swept them to the top of the table for the first time this season. And for Berbatov, it provided the perfect confidence boost after he did not even make the squad for last weekend's triumph over Wigan.

"It was a fantastic achievement," said Ferguson. "He could have scored six too because Paul Robinson made a fantastic save near the end. When strikers are not scoring they don't think they are doing their job right. That has always been the case. It came back (against Blackburn)."

Berbatov follows former United striker Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe as men who have netted five in a game since the new league was formed in 1992.

Park Ji-sung netted an excellent second for United before Berbatov pounced on Pascal Chimbonda's woeful back pass to effectively seal victory by half-time.

Nani scored after the break in a blinding start in which Berbatov also completed his hat-trick, before adding two more, and narrowly failing to become the first player to score six in a Premier League game when Paul Robinson palmed away his goalbound header.

"He and Wayne (Rooney) were fantastic," added Ferguson. "They were a constant threat. Their movement, passing and one-twos. It was a top performance by both of them. They have an understanding from the previous two years. It is very pleasing to get that."

Christopher Samba netted a consolation for Blackburn near the end but manager Sam Allardyce admitted his side had been badly beaten.

"This won't be any easy one for us to forget," he reflected. "We were completely outplayed and have just gone under.

"Berbatov gets a lot of criticism but he has great ability and is a quality finisher. It is unfortunate for him that he has a laid-back attitude. But for me he has always been top quality."

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