Fergie salutes five-goal Berbatov

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Manchester United's Bulgarian striker, Dimitar Berbatov (right), celebrates after scoring his fourth goal with English forward Wayne Rooney during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford in Manchester, Nov 30, 2010. United won 7-1.

Bulgarian striker becomes 4th player in EPL history to achieve the feat

MANCHESTER, England - Sir Alex Ferguson saluted Dimitar Berbatov after the Manchester United striker ended his goal-drought by becoming only the fourth player in Premier League history to score five.

Berbatov's five-star display at Old Trafford on Saturday helped United to a 7-1 win over Blackburn, which swept them to the top of the table for the first time this season.

Ferguson believes it will be the perfect confidence boost for Berbatov, who hadn't scored since a hat-trick against Liverpool in September and did not even make the squad for last weekend's triumph over Wigan.

"It was a fantastic achievement," Ferguson said. "He could have scored six too because Paul Robinson made a fantastic save near the end.

"When strikers are not scoring they don't think they are doing their job right. That has always been the case. Today it came back."

Berbatov follows Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe as men who have netted five in a game since the new league was formed in 1992.

Cole's haul was for United against Ipswich in 1995, Shearer was on the mark for Newcastle against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999 and Tottenham's Defoe notched his record tally against Wigan last year.

"We've been waiting for that performance for weeks," Ferguson told Sky Sports television after his side's best result of the campaign so far.

"There was some great football attached to those goals and getting off the mark early helped him of course because he hadn't scored for 10 games. And that does prey on strikers' minds because that's the way they are," added Ferguson.

Top scorer

Berbatov had last been on the scoresheet when he hit a hat-trick against Liverpool in September and Saturday's five sent him top of the Premier League scoring chart with 11 goals, two more than Manchester City's Carlos Tevez.

Failing to make even the bench for United's previous game against Wigan Athletic, the club's record signing scored twice before the break and had wrapped up his hat-trick with the second half barely underway.

"I still can't quite believe I scored five goals," 29-year-old told Manchester United television (MUTV).

"I have scored five in a match before but it was a long time ago back home in Bulgaria ... to stand alongside the likes of Shearer and Cole is a great honor.

"The first one (goal) was probably the most important," he said. "It gave us the confidence to go on and play the way we know we can."

Just as pleasing to Ferguson was the way the Bulgarian linked up with England striker Wayne Rooney, making his first start since early October when he talked of leaving the club.

Rooney nodded the ball down for Berbatov to volley home from close range after 71 seconds and they linked well all afternoon.

"I think it was a good combination today, they interchanged play tremendously well today and they were aware of each other's positions. It was a really, really good performance," said the manager.

"Wayne did fantastic today considering it's only his second game back."