Fulham boss Jol hails reluctant entertainer Berbatov

The 56-year-old Craven Cottage boss praises the Bulgarian forward as an unwilling showman, highlighting the penalty that the 31-year-old scored against Arsenal as a prime example
Fulham boss Martin Jol has praised in-form forward Dimitar Berbatov as an "entertainer", describing the 31-year-old as a "fantastic footballer" following his impressive start to the season.

The former Manchester United striker has scored five goals and assisted three more in seven games for Fulham this season, with the Cottagers sitting in ninth position in the Premier League table before Sunday's game against Sunderland.

And, while the 56-year-old manager admits that the mercurial finisher may not necessarily want to entertain people, he argues that it comes naturally to the Bulgarian - and he would not change him.

"I don't think he likes to be an entertainer but he entertains with his style and I don't want to take that away from him," Jol told the Daily Telegraph.

9/2 Dimitar Berbatov is 9/2 with William Hill to score two or more goals against Sunderland
Berbatov put in an impressive performance as the Cottagers drew 3-3 away to Arsenal on November 10, scoring two and setting up another, with one of the goals coming from the penalty spot.

Jol suggested that the striker's method of pausing to wait for the goalkeeper to dive before striking the spot kick makes him unique in the English game.

"He wanted to show me that his last penalty was not a coincidence," the Dutchman recalled. "I said: 'Please, next time, just put it in the net, don't wait for the keeper'.

"But he did it because I had said to him that there's no player playing in England who can wait for the keeper [to dive]. And that's what he did. But he did it in front of 60,000 people. And that's quite different - and he's different."

Despite Berbatov's sullen appearance in the eyes of some fans, Jol sees a different image of the player, continuing: "People think he's a sulker and on the field they think he might not be giving 100 per cent but in his mind he is giving everything for the team and you have to accept that.

"I accept that and he’s a fantastic footballer."