Juan Mata feels that Ryan Giggs is the perfect man to lead Manchester United.
Giggs’ reign as interim United manager got off to the best start possible on Saturday as the Red Devils strolled to a 4-0 win over Norwich at Old Trafford.
After a slightly cumbersome first half, United sprang into life after the break, playing with width, pace and flair – just as Giggs had demanded.
Giggs may not be under consideration for the post on a full-time basis, but many of the 75,208 fans who were inside Old Trafford wish he was.
Mata is also a big fan of Giggs, even though he was dropped to the bench by the Welshman for Saturday’s game. “If we speak about Ryan we speak about a Manchester United person,” said Mata, who scored twice following his introduction on the hour. “He was very successful here as a player and now he is leading the team. We are all happy because who is better to do it?”
Giggs said prior to kick-off that he wanted to “restore the positivity” around the club following an extremely disappointing campaign under David Moyes.
The 40-year-old certainly did that. The greeting Giggs received from the fans as he strode down the touchline in his club suit was real Roy of the Rovers stuff.
There was little mention of Moyes at Old Trafford. The “Chosen One” banner had gone and Giggs did his best to make a clean break from the Scot’s reign.
Giggs made six changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Everton in Moyes’ final game in charge while Marouane Fellaini – the Scot’s £27.5million signing – was not even on the bench.
Mata, another of Moyes’ signings, was happy to end a tumultuous few days for the club on a high. “It has been a difficult week for us,” the Spaniard told MUTV. “A change of manager is never good news because it means that you are not doing the things right, but today it was very important to win and give the fans what they deserve.”
Moyes made no mention of the United playing squad in his midweek statement, but Mata, for one, was sad to see the 51-year-old go.
“I will always be grateful to him because he was the one who brought me here and gave me the chance to play for this amazing club,” said Mata, who signed for United from Chelsea for £37.5m in January. “I wish him and his staff the best in the future.”
Giggs admitted he barely slept on the eve of the match as he was worried about dropping some of his team-mates, such as Mata.
But it turned out all right for the interim United boss. Norwich never looked like beating David de Gea once the hosts found their rhythm.
Giggs was happy with his team’s performance, but he knows he must stay grounded.
“I thought we ended the game really well,” said Giggs, who has been told he will be in charge until the end of the season. It would have been nice if Chicho [Javier Hernandez] had scored a fifth at the end but I can’t get too greedy.
“And I can’t get carried away either. It’s the first game. We are at Old Trafford and we are expected to win. We will look forward to the Sunderland game and hope for the same performance.”
Giggs, who is currently still taking his coaching badges, added: “Maybe I should retire now with a 100 per cent record!”
Norwich, meanwhile, face a real battle to stay in the Premier League. The Canaries, who have lost their last five matches, face Chelsea and Arsenal in their remaining two games, and interim manager Neil Adams knows time is running out for his men.
“There are two massive, massive games now, and we need to take points from both of them,” Adams said.
“I’ve seen character in the dressing room. There are people in there now who are hurt.”