Gary Neville expects Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov to play a crucial role in his side's push for Premier League and Champions League glory after the Bulgarian scored twice in the champions' 4-0 win at Bolton.
With England forward Wayne Rooney rested for Saturday's trip to the Reebok Stadium to allow him time to recover from a bruised foot, Berbatov was drafted in as United's lone attacker and responded with a superb display.
Berbatov has rarely hit peak form since his 30.75 million pounds switch from Tottenham in August 2008, but he is beginning to look the part at last and scored twice in a league game for the first time since his move.
Berbatov's lacklustre contribution has often been derided, but now it appears United's fans are starting to understand what his team-mates already knew.
"Dimitar's performances in the wins against Wolves and Bolton have showed fantastic determination," Neville said. "He has played up front on his own in both games. He was a massive presence running the line for us against Bolton. It was really important. It has been so important to us that when Wayne has not been playing Dimitar has been outstanding."
Big week ahead for United
Rooney was rested after suffering the foot injury in training, but he should be fit for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Bayern Munich and the vital league showdown with Chelsea at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Chelsea game will go a long way to deciding the destination of the title but Neville believes the race will go down to the wire. Chelsea's 7-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday showed their determination to end United's three-year reign as champions, while Arsenal remain in contention despite drawing 1-1 at Birmingham.
"The league could be very tight," Neville added. "Over the years it has never gone down to goal difference but you never know, it may be the deciding factor. The good thing for us is that we are in a position where goals don't have to matter. We could certainly do ourselves a big favour next Saturday, but so could Chelsea, and Arsenal will be looking for a draw. It is still all to play for."