Dimitar Berbatov has challenged Odion Ighalo to go out and prove he deserves a permanent Manchester United contract after extending his loan spell at the club.
The Nigerian striker was due to return to parent club Shanghai Shenhua at the end of last week, but United made the move to keep the forward at Old Trafford until January 2021.
Ighalo has impressed during his short time at the club, scoring four goals in eight games in all competitions, but former Red Devils striker Berbatov believes the 30-year-old now has to “fight” for a long-term deal.
“It is also great news, for club and player, United have extended the loan of Odion Ighalo,” Berbatov told Betfair.
“The way he linked with the other players, his interaction with the team and everything he did was top quality for the time he was given to play.
“Now, Ighalo has a massive challenge ahead of him to prove that it was the right decision from the club.
“Now that he’s staying until 31 January 2021, why not go out there and show the club why he should stay for even longer?
“Why not fight for a permanent contract? He’s a great boost for the team and it puts United in a strong position.”
Before the season was halted over the coronavirus crisis, United were on an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions and fighting for Champions League qualification.
With the Premier League now set to resume later this month, Solskjaer’s side will have to overturn a three-point deficit to take Chelsea’s place in fourth spot.
“Make no mistake, this is a massive opportunity for United and they know it,” Berbatov added.
“Hopefully, they will be prepared for that challenge because three points are nothing, if they win their first game back and Chelsea slip up then the three points aren’t an issue anymore, it can be as easy as that.
“But on the other hand, if United slip up and Chelsea win it will be six points, so they also have to be careful, there can be no room for error.”