Giggs promises a return to United’s first principles

Stand-in boss says he want players to play with ‘passion, speed, tempo and imagination’

 Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs with former boss David Moyes: “My philosophy is the Manchester United philosophy,” said Giggs. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs with former boss David Moyes: “My philosophy is the Manchester United philosophy,” said Giggs. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA


The first thing Ryan Giggs did on becoming Manchester United’s interim manager was pick up the phone to call Alex Ferguson.

“Why wouldn’t I? He’s been through everything as a manager, as a young manager, as an experienced manager, as a successful manager,” the 40-year-old said.

“Yeah, he’s given me advice, he’s told me that he’s always at the end of the phone and that’s obviously given me a lot of comfort and it’s good to know I can turn to the manager if I ever need him.”

Giving his opening press conference at United’s Carrington training complex, Giggs was assured and at ease. Yet the Freudian slip of how he still views Ferguson – as “the manager” – spoke volumes, and illustrated how tough it was always going to be for David Moyes.

The Scot was the elephant in the room. Before Giggs started Karen Shotbolt, the manager’s press officer, announced he would say a few words about his predecessor and that would be it: no questions would be welcomed on Moyes’s doomed 10-month tenure. “I’d like to thank David for giving me my first chance in coaching,” the Welshman said. “It was something I’ll always remember when he rang me in the summer and asked me to come on board.”

Feel guilty
Yet Moyes was, of course, touched upon by implication virtually every time Giggs offered a response on how he viewed the season and the new United under him.

The generally breezy way that proceedings were handled was in direct contrast to how the uber-cautious Moyes addressed the media.

Asked if the players should feel guilty about the club’s struggles this season, Giggs’s answer was smooth yet steely.

“I don’t think guilty but as a Man United player you have got to set standards. I want to bring those standards back up to here,” he said, raising his hand above his head.

“Where a Manchester United player should be. And not just for one game, for every game. Every time you pull on the red shirt you give everything, otherwise you’re coming off.

“My philosophy is the Manchester United philosophy,” he added. “I want players to play with passion, speed, tempo and be brave, with imagination. I want to see goals, tackles, players taking players on and getting the crowd up. I want to give the fans something to smile about in the remaining four games.”

Executioner’s song
Giggs has got instantly down to business.

“I’ll tell the players just to try to enjoy yourself, express yourself,” he said but then implicated them for Sunday’s dire 2-0 defeat at Everton that proved the executioner’s song for Moyes. “I don’t know if I’d be saying that as manager last week because the performance wasn’t great.”

Pressed about what it had been like watching from the bench as Moyes’s former side humiliated United – and the Scot – before the Goodison Park crowd, Giggs said: “It was a disappointing performance. You sometimes get games like that, you’re 2-0 down and you’re chasing and it gets messy. But it wasn’t good enough.”

Giggs has asked former team-mate Nicky Butt to step up from the reserves and ensured Phil Neville remained from Moyes’s staff, while Paul Scholes was also brought on board in his regime.

“They are Man United fans and played for the club for the majority of their careers, with myself and Scholesy just one club,” Giggs said of the gang of four.

“It’s probably the proudest moment of my career. The hairs on the back of my neck will be standing up. I know Old Trafford will be rocking, I know the fans will be behind us. I know the players can’t wait, my staff can’t wait, I can’t wait. I just want it to come.”

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