Berbatov stunned after high five
Dimitar Berbatov left Old Trafford with another matchball on Saturday and admitted he cannot quite believe he has earned a place in the record books.
The Manchester United striker became only the fourth player in Premier League history to score five in a game, steering the Red Devils towards a 7-1 win over Blackburn that took them top of the table for the first time this season.
It was a staggering way to end a 10-game run without a goal and allows Berbatov to join former United striker Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe in the elite group to hit five.
"I can’t believe it. I scored five in a game but it happened," Berbatov said.
"I have scored that many before but it was a long time ago back home in Bulgaria.
"Today I did it in the Premier League. To stand next to people like Cole and Shearer is a great honour."
It took Berbatov just 71 seconds to open his account, adding another before the break and then scoring three more times after the restart.
"The first goal was the most important," he added.
"It gives you the confidence to play.
"As a striker, people do tend only to look at the goals you score.
"I am more concerned with how I play but today was all about goals for me."
It was Berbatov’s second hat-trick of the season and took his overall tally to 12.
However, while he grabbed all the headlines, Wayne Rooney’s contribution should not be overlooked.
The England striker is still searching for his first goal in open play since September.
He was a major influence on this encounter, though, with Sir Alex Ferguson quick to praise his partnership with Berbatov.
"He and Wayne were fantastic today," said the United boss.
"They were a constant threat. Their movement, passing and one-twos. It was a top performance by both of them.
"They have an understanding from the previous two years. It is very pleasing to get that."
It was an assessment Berbatov agreed with.
"Wayne knows how I play and I know how he plays," he said.
"We understand each other’s games well. We showed that on the pitch.
"We work hard on the training ground and sometimes it just works out."
Park Ji-sung netted an excellent second for United before Berbatov pounced on Pascal Chimbonda’s woeful back pass to effectively seal victory by half-time.
Nani scored after the break in a blinding start in which Berbatov also completed his hat-trick, before adding two more, and narrowly failing to become the first player to score six in a Premier League game when Paul Robinson palmed away his goalbound header.
"It was a fantastic achievement," said Ferguson.
"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."
Christopher Samba netted a consolation for Blackburn near the end but manager Sam Allardyce admitted his side had been badly beaten.
"This won’t be any easy one for us to forget," he reflected.
"We were completely outplayed and have just gone under.
"Berbatov gets a lot of criticism but he has great ability and is a quality finisher.
"It is unfortunate for him that he has a laid-back attitude. But for me he has always been top quality."