Manchester United Club Focus - Giggs in bullish mood ahead of his 36th Manchester derby
Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs has said that his side are aiming to “put out a statement” in tonight’s crucial derby game, reaffirming their position as league champions and the city’s number one team.
Giggs acknowledged the importance of the potential title decider, whilst also referring to the regularity with which he has faced these sorts of games throughout his illustrious career at Old Trafford. Should he feature at the Etihad, it would be Giggs’ 908th game for United, and his 36th Manchester derby.
Giggs scored against City on his first start for United 21 years ago, and has gone on to set a record number of appearances for his club, becoming the most decorated player in English football history in the process. With 33 medals to his name so far, the Welshman will be calling on all of his experience and the trophy-winning mentality that is ingrained within him to bring an air of calm and poise to the away dressing room in the build up to the game.
Giggs is certain to be involved in some capacity in tonight’s matchday squad, and will be on hand to guide the younger players that will be by his side. Out on the pitch, the 38-year-old is still more than capable of producing match winning moments of brilliance, as he showed in the tough away game against Norwich at the end of February. Even before he scored the decisive winner late on, he showed bags of composure to pick out Danny Welbeck in the box for a chance the striker should have converted.
Likewise in the thrilling 4-3 derby victory at Old Trafford in the 2009/10 season, Giggs capped an outstanding performance with the telling through-ball that enabled Michael Owen to score his dramatic late winner. Gigg’s career has been littered with telling contributions that have directly led to trophies being won, perhaps most notably in the treble success of 1999. In this campaign he scored important goals against Juventus and memorably against Arsenal, as well as setting up Teddy Sheringham’s equaliser in the Champions League Final.
He has proven this season that those moments are not only consigned to the past, and will be hoping for a chance to add another to his record tonight. The defending champions will be going out to win the game, and as Giggs himself put it: “We’re Manchester United, we’re the champions and we’ll try and put out a statement that we deserve to win this league”.
If Giggs, who played for City as a schoolboy, reaches 13 league titles with United this season, it will only be those on the blue half of Manchester that will consider themselves unlucky.