Berba baffled by United’s poor away form

DIMITAR BERBATOV is baffled by Manchester United’s indifferent form on the road and wants an improvement as the race for the Barclays Premier League title enters a crucial phase.

The Bulgarian striker believes part of the problem stems from the fact so many teams are raising their game against the leaders.

United suffered their third away league defeat on Sunday when they lost 3-1 at Liverpool.

Yet at home Alex Ferguson’s side have been invincible with 40 points taken out of a possible 42.

Berbatov said: “We haven’t won as many games as we should have away from home, but that’s not because we haven’t tried to. We never go into a game looking for a draw or thinking we’d be happy with a point. We aim to win each game.

“The difficulty is that other teams lift their game when they play Manchester United. We’re the biggest club, so it’s only natural. I understand that. That makes our job harder, but that’s not an excuse: we need to be better away from home.’’

Berbatov remains the top flight’s leading scorer with 19 goals even though he has failed to find the target in his past six league games.

Asked if he had ever lost confidence during his time at United, he responded: “Of course, many times. Sometimes you don’t play well or you don’t score and in those times the pressure comes from all around you, as well as from yourself.

“You can find yourself doubting yourself. But that’s when you need to keep faith and realise everything is going to be okay.’’

Meanwhile, United chief executive David Gill yesterday declared he would continue to snub fan groups who were “at war with the owners”.

Gill leapt to the defence the Glazer regime, insisting the Americans had made United stronger since their 2005 takeover and claiming the debt they had saddled on the club had had “no impact” on Ferguson’s ability to buy players.

The United board have refused to enter into dialogue with groups such as the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) and the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA), who are fundamentally opposed to the Glazers’ ownership.

This policy was challenged yesterday by a House of Commons Select Committee as part of a wider inquiry into football governance, with Gill asked whether he was simply avoiding engaging with those who disagreed with him.

But he was unmoved, saying: “If we’re going to be castigated for not speaking to one or two groups who have particular, very clear agendas, then so be it. We’ll take the castigation.”

Gill was adamant United did respect the opinions of their fans and held forums with them three to four times a year to gauge — and often act upon — their concerns.

“We’d be naive and stupid if we didn’t understand what the fans think, what they want, and reflect that in our business policy,” said Gill, who insisted he had no problem with MUST and IMUSA members attending such forums as individual United supporters.

But he added: “We’re not going to engage in structured dialogue with organisations like that. I don’t think it’s appropriate or sensible. They’re at war with the owners.”

Dismissing the rebels as “domestic” supporters, Gill said: “We’ve done studies that show we have 333 million followers around the world.

“Not everyone hates the owners.’’

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