Giggs addressed the media yesterday for the first time since he was appointed interim player-manager following the sacking of David Moyes.
His message was music to the ears of United fans who had grown tired of watching their team play during Moyes’ woeful ten-month spell in charge.
The slow, unimaginative way in which the team performed in Moyes’ final game in charge against Everton last week disappointed Giggs, who is conscious and proud of United’s historical reputation as one of the most fearsome attacking teams in the land.
Giggs knows Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson became club greats because their success was born out of a commitment to attacking football. Now Giggs wants to see a similar style of play from his team in his four matches at the helm.
“My philosophy is the Manchester United philosophy,” said Giggs ahead of today’s home Premier League game against Norwich. “I want players to play with passion, speed, tempo and be brave, with imagination, all the things that are expected of a Manchester United player.
“I want to see goals, tackles, players taking players on and getting the crowd up. I want the passion that should come with being a Manchester United player. I’ll tell the players just to try to enjoy yourself, express yourself. I just want them to enjoy themselves and give the fans something to smile about in the
remaining four games.
“It’s been a frustrating season and I want to end it on a high. The stadium will be bouncing.”
There was an air of infectious optimism in the academy building at Carrington yesterday as Giggs spoke to the media in the same room where Ferguson used to hold his press briefings.
If that positivity brushes off onto the players, then United should end the season strongly.
Giggs, kitted out in his training gear, could not conceal his delight at being asked to manage a club that has literally been his life.
“It’s probably the proudest moment of my career,” said Giggs, which is quite a statement considering he has won 35 trophies at United.
Giggs started his press conference with a short “thank you” message to Moyes.
A club official then told the gathered journalists there would be no questions regarding the former manager.
“It’s been a difficult week for the club and it was a shock to me on Tuesday when I spoke to [executive vice-chairman] Ed [Woodward] and he informed me David was leaving and then asked me to take over,” Giggs said.
“It has been a bit of a whirlwind week for me but one I have enjoyed. I had no hesitation in saying yes. This club has been the biggest part of my life since I signed schoolboy forms when I was 13 or 14. I am happy, a little bit nervous and I can’t wait for the game on Saturday.”
Giggs’ desire to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford is evident in his choice of coaching staff.
Jimmy Lumsden and Steve Round – both brought in by Moyes last summer – have been replaced by Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes while Phil Neville has remained at the club following the change in management.
All three coaches were part of the famed “Class of ’92” which played a big role in delivering Ferguson so much success during his 26 years in charge.
The quartet of coaches have 36
Premier League winner’s medals between them, and what is more, they have United in their blood. Explaining the presence of his three former team-mates, and goalkeeping coach Chris Woods, Giggs said: “Phil was already involved, so was Woodsy and they have stayed on.
“Nicky was with the reserves, I asked him to come and help with the first team, which he was more than happy to do. The phone call was to Scholesy because I know how much the club means to these people. It means as much to them as me. They will give everything in a short time to try and end what has been a frustrating season on a high and put some smiles back on the fans’ faces.”
Giggs did not look out of his depth when he spoke at the AON Training Complex. The player-manager cut an engaging yet authoritative figure, and he even had time to crack a joke about awarding himself a new five-year playing contract.
There is a feeling inside the club that Giggs will, one day, become full-time United manager, but with the club languishing in seventh place, the board feel a more experienced manager like Louis van Gaal or Carlo Ancelotti is needed for now, although the latter appeared to rule himself out of the running yesterday afternoon. Giggs is keeping his options open regarding his future. He added: “I’m just concentrating on a short term. After that, I’ve not really thought about it.”
Giggs is still in good shape so he could carry on playing beyond the summer. Indeed the 40-year-old could make his 963rd appearance for the club this evening.
“I haven’t done much this week but I am still involved as a player as well,” he said. “I’ve trained okay this week and looked sharp!