Belfast Telegraph

Saints clash is sole focus for Giggs

Ryan Giggs insists Manchester United will not allow thoughts of Real Madrid to cloud their Barclays Premier League title assault.

It is now just a fortnight until United head to Spain for a summit meeting with Jose Mourinho and a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo to scrap it out for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. However, Giggs is acutely aware three key Premier League engagements must be navigated first, starting with Wednesday's Old Trafford encounter with Southampton.

And he knows the glamour of a night out at the Bernabeu must not be allowed to affect United's focus, as he said: "We're not thinking about Madrid. Everyone was excited when the draw was made but you can't look too far ahead."

The two-legged confrontation has captured the imagination of supporters worldwide, pitting arguably football's two most famous club sides in direct confrontation, even without the individual personalities involved.

Giggs added: "You want to perform in games like that and be in good form going into them. That is what we intend to do and the best way of achieving that is to concentrate on the opponents immediately ahead."

As someone who has played a professional career now approaching its 22nd year under the guidance of one man, Giggs is not the most obvious person to ask about the upheaval at St Mary's following Nigel Adkins' recent dismissal.

Yet Giggs would have to exist in a bubble not to appreciate the wacky world football has become, and some of the seemingly strange decisions that are made in the name of progress.

And, as someone keen on entering the management game when his stellar playing career finally reaches its conclusion, the 39-year-old knows the pressures that come with being a top-flight boss.

More than that, Giggs realises players tend to be an expedient bunch on the whole.

"Players just get on with it," he said. "Everyone was shocked when Nigel Adkins went, but ultimately players have got a job to do. The new manager (Mauricio Pochettino) will put his ideas across and players will just get on with it."


From Belfast Telegraph