March 7 (Reuters) - Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov believes January signings Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes have settled in well at the club and the two will be crucial in Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.
Portuguese midfielder Fernandes joined United for an initial fee of 55 million euros ($62.07 million) while Nigerian Ighalo was signed on loan as a late addition to their squad on deadline day.
United are on a nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions, keeping seven clean sheets in that time, and Berbatov said they were playing with purpose again with Ighalo leading the charge in the absence of the injured Marcus Rashford.
“I’m really happy to see that Odion Ighalo is settling in well and he deserves it with the way he is playing, how he links the plays and the goals he is scoring,” Berbatov, who scored 56 goals in four seasons at United, told Betfair.
“All the team are happy when he scores which shows he is fully integrated, and I like the way he looks for the ball and bullies the defenders.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about him before he joined... I knew about his record in the Premier League but I questioned if he was the right man and if he would get into the team, but so far he is doing well and proving me wrong.”
Fernandes has thrived as a playmaker in the middle of the park, pulling strings in United’s attack and bagging three goals and two assists in all competitions since his debut last month.
“Bruno Fernandes is scoring and is full of confidence, he gives the team that extra creativity and hopefully his first derby will be a win, and why not?” Berbatov added.
“When you come into a new country and a new team you already know who your big rivals are going to be and now in the lead-up to Sunday he is going to know what this game is all about.”
United are seventh in the standings, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, while City are 25 points behind league leaders Liverpool.
$1 = 0.8861 euros Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon