Sir Alex Ferguson hailed the "class" of Dimitar Berbatov after his man of the match display in a pre-season victory over Celtic.
The much-maligned Bulgaria striker scored the first goal in Friday's 3-1 victory over Celtic in Toronto before setting up substitutes Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley for further strikes in the opening game of a five-match US tour.
Berbatov was reported to be heading out of the Old Trafford exit door this summer on the back of two inconsistent seasons following his £30million arrival from Tottenham.
But Ferguson has now given a ringing endorsement of the striker, who he believes will be a key player as the Red Devils attempt to retain the Premier League crown this season.
"Berbatov got man of the match and I think he deserved that, no question. His performance was excellent," he explained.
"In the second half he produced some fantastic moments. It underlines the one great factor – the class he has. You cannot take that away from him, no matter the criticism.
"It doesn't come from our camp. When we see a performance like that we know we have the right player."
Speaking about the striking options he has at his disposal and with an injured Michael Owen not part of the tour party, Ferguson added:"We are happy with the strikers we have got. You have to decide what is the best combination.
"Berbatov and (Mame) Diouf in the first half did very well.
"Diouf has got different talents to (Federico) Macheda and Welbeck.
"He penetrates, he is quick and aggressive. He is an interesting player and it suited Berbatov."