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Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen insists star striker Dimitar Berbatov was rested for Fulham’s 1-1 FA Cup draw at Norwich.

The Bulgarian’s absence at Carrow Road increased speculation about his future, despite Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger appearing to rule himself out of a move for the 32-year-old on Friday.

Berbatov has only just returned to action following a fortnight out with a groin problem, so Meulensteen left the former Manchester United frontman behind in London to recover for next week’s basement battle with Sunderland.

“Berbatov’s not injured,” said the Dutchman, “but because of him coming back from injury and being able to play the 90 minutes against West Ham we thought it was better for him to recuperate and be ready for the Sunderland game.”

Berbatov has scored five times in 16 games for Fulham this season, with three in his last three appearances.