Dimitar Berbatov has admitted he faces a "huge challenge" to replace the injured Radamel Falcao at Monaco, although the Bulgarian is relishing a new start at the top of Ligue 1 after spending the first half of the season embroiled in a relegation scrap with Fulham.

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United striker moved to the principality on a loan deal for the rest of the season on transfer deadline day, having been Martin Jol's captain at Craven Cottage earlier in the campaign. Despite a brief flurry of form under René Meulensteen following his appointment as manager in December, Berbatov had cut a rather uninterested figure at times this term and, with Fulham having spent a club record £12m to bring Kostas Mitroglou from Olympiakos, the 33-year-old was allowed to depart.

The veteran's contract expires in June, with his spell at Monaco, where he has been recruited nominally to replace Falcao after the Colombian suffered cruciate knee ligament damage, offering an opportunity to remind the world of his qualities. "I decided to come here because it's a great team and a coach in Claudio Ranieri who I knew from my time in England," said Berbatov, who trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Tuesday morning. "I have never played in France before but the football here is of a good standard and this is a new experience, and a new adventure for me.

"Even from that one training session it's clear to me that Monaco have some really talented players but it's still a huge challenge to follow Falcao. Everyone knows what a great player he is but I'm not here to take anyone's place. I simply want to fit in with the group and help the team achieve its targets, with my assists, my goals and my qualities.

"Am I the same player from my Manchester United days? I don't have as much hair but I'm going to try and show my best. I'm obviously a bit older but you play football with your head. We'll see in the next few matches if I'm still the same Berbatov [from United]. I feel good, anyway."

Berbatov took advice from his former United team-mate Patrice Evra, himself an ex-Monaco player, before moving to the club. "We spoke and he told me lots of good things about Monaco," said the striker. "I know it's a big club, even if they play in front of only small crowds in their stadium, but I was looking for something new, a fresh start. When Monaco contacted me, it was a great option for me. We're second in the division and could qualify for the Champions League.

"I know some of the players, like Ricardo Carvalho, who I've played against when he was at Chelsea, and I sounded out Patrice but said yes pretty quickly. As for staying beyond the end of the season, that depends only on me: how I play, how many goals I score. If I do well and help the team, it's possible but, for now, I'm not thinking about that. That's for another day."

He will be tested from the outset, with second-placed Monaco hosting the leaders, Paris Saint-Germain, at Stade Louis II on Sunday. The clubs are only separated by five points. "It's the best possible way to start, playing against one of the best teams in the world and one of the best players in the world in Zlatan [Ibrahimovic]," said Berbatov. "It's a fantastic match and a great way to start my adventure in France, as well as to show what I can do. They're the favourites to win Ligue 1 but at our stadium it'll be difficult for them. Let's not forget we got a 1-1 draw at Parc des Princes earlier in the season."