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FRIEND AND FOE

Posted on 8 December 2007  - 12:00

Dimitar Berbatov believes victory against Manchester City is vital in terms of our league campaign - and knows he is going to have to put one over his good friend Martin Petrov if we are to secure maximum points.

Dimitar Berbatov believes victory against Manchester City is vital in terms of our league campaign - and knows he is going to have to put one over his good friend Martin Petrov if we are to secure maximum points.

Defeat to Birmingham City last weekend prevented us climbing away from the lower reaches of the Barclays Premier League table and with tough away games coming up against Portsmouth and Arsenal, a win is much-needed on Sunday.

Manchester City arrive at the Lane a much-changed team from last season. The summer appointment of former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager was followed by a host of new faces on the playing staff. Among them are Dimitar’s Bulgarian international team-mates Petrov and Valeri Bojinov who have contrasting fortunes since arriving in England.

Winger Petrov has adapted well to the Premier League, with four goals and many more assists as City have climbed up to fifth in the table. But Bojinov suffered a knee ligament injury in only his third game in a sky blue shirt, against Manchester United, and has been out of action since that August 19 fixture.

Despite the absence of Bojinov, Berba says that City are definitely a side to watch out for.

“They are in good form, have a very good squad and they have improved a lot from last year,” explained the 26-year-old. “Obviously they have a new manager and lot of new players and are a really good side. I have watched quite a lot of their games because they are shown a lot by the Bulgarian media and they play some very good football.

“Everyone thought at the start of the season that it would be difficult for them having bought so many new players to the club, but they have proved them wrong. They are fifth in the table and that’s proof enough, they play like a team and that shows in their results.”

As well as turning out alongside City’s two Bulgarians for the national team, Berba reveals that Petrov played for Wolfsburg in Germany at the same time as he was turning out for Bayer Leverkusen, and the pair faced each other on a couple of occasions.

“I have known Martin for a long time, he is a very good friend and we share a room when we go away with the national team,” Berba said. “He’s a very good player on the pitch, very quick, with a powerful left foot. It will be interesting for me today because when we were in Germany we did play against each other there as well and now we will do so again."

You can read this interview in full in Sunday's official matchday programme against City - buy programmes onlineHERE...

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