Yorke calls on hard-working Berbatov to tune out critics

United's former forward backs Bulgarian to play pivotal role as race for the title hits finishing straight

Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke has urged Dimitar Berbatov to ignore the critics and focus solely on trying to bring another Premier League title to Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney is pushing himself in a bid to be fit for Sunday's trip to Sunderland, but United's star striker is so short of recent match practice that Berbatov is bound to be an influential figure in the Red Devils camp during their final two league games.

As Sir Alex Ferguson's men have faltered this season, Berbatov's contribution has been highlighted, with most observers believing the Bulgarian has failed to live up to his club record £30.75m billing.

Yet Yorke has seen a confident figure on the training ground this week after being invited back to Carrington to prepare for Saturday's "United Relief Live: The Big Red Family Day Out" at Old Trafford. And he feels Berbatov needs to remain dedicated to the cause, rather than the whispers about his form.

"He needs to forget about what people are saying," said Yorke. "People always look for a scapegoat and try to single people out. I am sure Dimitar will be aware of that.

"Everyone expected him to be the person he was at Tottenham and it hasn't been that way. But he is working exceptionally hard to turn the situation around and the players support that.

"When things are not going particularly well you need the support of your team-mates. He is getting that in abundance."

Sunday looks like being the pivotal day in the race for the title as two-and-a-half hours before United kick off at the Stadium of Light, Liverpool entertain Chelsea in a match Carlo Ancelotti's men have to win if they are to remain in charge of their own destiny.

D-day comes 24 hours after Yorke has appeared alongside fellow 1999 Champions League winners Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jaap Stam, Denis Irwin and Ronny Johnsen against "The Rivals", a team containing Ian Rush and John Barnes.

Yorke is looking forward to his Old Trafford return, although he acknowledges the main event will be played out on Merseyside and Wearside.

Just as there were in 1995, suggestions have already been aired that Liverpool might not be interested in denying Chelsea, knowing they will be playing a major role in handing United a record 19th league championship and erasing their own place in history.

Yet, on the final day 15 years ago, the Reds still defeated Blackburn, a success United could not take advantage of by beating West Ham.

And Yorke is convinced that while many Liverpool fans may be living in dread at United's success, inside the dressing room there will be no holding back.

"It is a myth the feeling they are going to throw it in. Professionals don't just turn up and throw games," argued the former Trinidad and Tobago star.

"There is a lot riding on the game for Liverpool in terms of trying to clinch fourth spot. They are also hoping to be in the Europa League final.

"They have to give themselves a fighting chance and winning breeds confidence."

In once again throwing open Carrington's doors, Sir Alex Ferguson has proved the rift he established with Yorke towards the end of the striker's United career has been healed. And, whether his former club achieve their objective or not this season, Yorke has seen enough fire in his old manager to confirm the belief that Ferguson is in no mood to quit, as has been suggested in recent weeks. "There is no sign of Sir Alex walking away despite all these rumours," said Yorke.

"People were saying he was going to retire when I was here and that was 12 years ago.

"He has made it absolutely clear that as long as he is in good nick, he will stay. Seeing him over the last two days I don't see him letting up."

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup