Coronavirus Outbreak: Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov feels playing without fans could affect players' performance
A number of football leagues around the globe will resume after the COVID-19 stoppage in the coming weeks but the matches will be played without fans
Sofia: Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov fears the performance of some players could suffer in the absence of spectators and a normal atmosphere at stadiums.
A number of football leagues around the globe will resume after the COVID-19 stoppage in the coming weeks but the matches will be played without fans.
The German Bundesliga season will restart on 16 May after a suspension of more than two months and championships in South Korea and the Faroe Islands are resuming this weekend.
“Playing behind closed doors isn’t going to be the same and everybody knows that,” Berbatov told Betfair.
The 39-year-old Bulgarian, his country’s all-time leading scorer with 48 goals, also played for Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in the English top-flight as well as German club Bayer Leverkusen and AS Monaco in France.
“It will be quiet and you will be able to hear all the players talking on the pitch and communicating with their coaches,” Berbatov said.
“The atmosphere won’t be there and it’s going to be different for every team. Some are going to take it okay and others may suffer from it.
“Sometimes it can affect your performance when you go out there and there are no fans, you know it’s a serious game but in a way, your body and mind can tell you it’s like a practice game, which can lead to bad games and performances, which isn’t a good thing.”
Berbatov, Bulgaria’s Footballer of the Year on seven occasions, joined United from Spurs in 2008 for a then club-record fee of 30 million pounds ($37.1 million).
“We all know that sometimes fans can win a game,” Berbatov said.
Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock for Chelsea after 69 minutes at Stamford Bridge to earn the holders a 1-0 victory over Zenit, whose Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg is the venue for next May's final.
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Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu equalised midway through the second half and substitute Jordan Siebatcheu got the winner, right at the end of five added minutes.