Berbatov adds extra bite, says Van der Sar

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The Independent Football

Manchester United's slow start to the season is nothing to worry about and the signing of Dimitar Berbatov has given them extra attacking options, their Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has said.

The Premier League champions are eighth in the table after a sluggish first few weeks but two league wins in a row have put them six points behind leaders Chelsea and Liverpool with a game in hand.

"Berbatov will add some qualities that we did not have so far," Van der Sar told Reuters in an interview. "Mostly we played with (Carlos) Tevez and (Wayne) Rooney up front but with Berbatov we have more possibilities.

"He is a tall player who can also be reached through the air."

The Bulgarian international joined United from Tottenham Hotspur this season for £30.75m. He scored his first two goals for the club in a 3-0 victory over AaB Aalborg in the Champions League on 30 September.

Van der Sar, who turns 38 at the end of this month and who is in his 19th professional season, was unconcerned by United's mediocre beginning to the Premier League campaign.

"Last season we also made a poor start but at the end of the season everything seemed ok," he said, referring to their 10th Premier League title and victory in the Champions League final.

"In the last two matches against Aalborg and Blackburn we improved and showed form, although the injury to Paul Scholes is a blow."



Van der Sar, capped 128 times, retired from international football after the Euro 2008 quarter-final defeat by Russia but he will make a brief return to the Netherlands squad this week for their World Cup qualifying matches against Iceland and Norway.

When his successor, Ajax Amsterdam keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, was ruled out with a shoulder injury and second choice Henk Timmer was struggling with a groin problem, Van der Sar decided to help the Dutch team out.

"I asked Alex Ferguson for his opinion and he told me if they ask you and you are fit, it is still your country and for me it is no problem if you join them," said Van der Sar.

"But it does not feel like a comeback as hardly anything has changed and I missed only one qualifying match against Macedonia (a 2-1 win).

"The reason I came back is not to have a more pleasant farewell but only to try to win both matches and keep the team on track to qualify.

"It is almost impossible to orchestrate the farewell you desire, that is something only a few people manage to do."

Netherlands host Iceland on Saturday in Rotterdam and travel to Norway four days later. Scotland and Macedonia are their other opponents in Group Nine.

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