Giggs tells Man Utd to forget Moyes and 'play like United'
Interim boss wants to go back to the future - but is Roy Keane heading back to Old Trafford?
IN HIS first team-talk to the players as interim manager of the club, Ryan Giggs has declared "we will go back to playing like Manchester United", a statement that adds insult to injury for ousted manager David Moyes, who has pointedly refused to thank the players since leaving the club on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old Giggs, whose first outing as boss will be against Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday, knows he only has the job for the four remaining games of the season. However, he intends to make an impression, even though the Daily Telegraph reports that he has been informed by United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that "he will not be considered for the manager's job on a permanent basis".
Giggs, assisted by his former Old Trafford team-mate Paul Scholes, believes his short-term mission is to restore some pride to the club at the tail end of a disastrous season overseen by Moyes. And although United are no longer in contention for a Champions League spot next season, Giggs wants to ensure United at least have the consolation of the Europa League by overhauling Tottenham in sixth spot. With six points separating the two clubs United must not only win their four remaining matches (Norwich, Sunderland, Hull and Southampton) but hope Spurs stumble in the home straight.
The Telegraph says that when Giggs addressed the United squad on Wednesday he urged them to "focus on putting the Moyes era behind them" and go all out for European qualification.
Giggs, together with Scholes, has been taking training sessions since Moyes was relieved of his duties on Tuesday and consequently fringe players, such as Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, are likely to return to the starting line-up against Norwich. On the other hand the players signed by Moyes, notably Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini are "at risk" of being demoted to the bench, says the paper.
Moyes, for his part, has hinted at dressing room unrest by releasing a statement through the League Manager's Association, thanking the club, the fans and even his predecessor Alex Ferguson for their support, but pointedly leaving out any mention of the players.
Meanwhile The Guardian reports that United's American owners, the Glazers, will arrive in Manchester on Friday to discuss with Woodward who should replace Moyes permanently. The paper says the Glazers "want a more hands-on role" in appointing the new manager after realising their mistake in allowing Alex Ferguson to anoint Moyes as his successor this time last year.
The prime candidate for the job remains Louis Van Gaal with The Times reporting that United "are expected to hold talks" with the Dutchman this week. Van Gaal left Holland on Tuesday for his holiday home in the Algarve and that, according to the Times, is where United officials will shortly fly to open negotiations.
And in what would be an extraordinary twist, reports in Ireland suggest that if Van Gaal is offered the job he will appoint former Manchester United captain Roy Keane as his assistant. The Irishman has been a strident critic of all things Old Trafford this season and only on Tuesday said the players should be "ashamed of themselves" in the wake of Moyes's sacking. In addition Keane's relationship with Alex Ferguson is said to be at best frosty and at worst downright hostile, but apparently Van Gaal believes Keane's experience and passion would be invaluable assets.