Football: Giggs fights shy of full-time boss talk

Manchester United's manager Ryan Giggs reacts after their English Premier League football match against Norwich City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England, April 26, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Manchester United's manager Ryan Giggs reacts after their English Premier League football match against Norwich City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England, April 26, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER (AFP) - Ryan Giggs is adamant he has given no further thought to the position of full-time Manchester United manager, despite starting his caretaker reign with an emphatic 4-0 win over Norwich City.

At an emotional Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney and substitute Juan Mata scored two goals each on Saturday, as the Welshman inspired United to their largest home league victory of a disastrous Premier League title defence.

Rooney instantly declared in post-match interviews he would welcome team-mate Giggs's appointment to the post on a permanent basis.

However, Dutch national team boss Louis van Gaal remains a strong favourite to be named as the long-term successor to the sacked David Moyes.

Giggs though, refused to be drawn on revealing whether he would like to be considered for the post full-time by the club's American owners, the Glazer family.

"Honestly, I'm just looking forward to Sunderland now," said Giggs ahead of United's match at home to the relegation-threatened side on Saturday, May 3.

"That's it. That's where my focus and concentration is on. I'm not looking any further ahead than that," added the 40-year-old, English football's most decorated player and United's record appearance-maker.

United supporters, however, left the club's hierarchy in no doubt that Giggs would be a popular appointment at Old Trafford, granting him an emotional welcome which overwhelmed the retired Welsh international winger.

"The reception was great," said Giggs, who reportedly received backing to take on the manager's post full-time from legendary boss Alex Ferguson earlier this week - although it was on his word that United made the ill-fated decision to replace him with Moyes following his retirement at the end of last season.

Giggs continued: "I've walked out that tunnel so many times in big games, but that's the best feeling I've ever had.

"I felt 10 feet tall, I felt so proud. The fans' reaction was great.

"Did I sleep last night? No, in a word. Just leaving out players was the reason I didn't sleep, it wasn't nice. They are team-mates of mine and I've never had to do it before. I will continue to not enjoy that. That's been the hardest part of this week."

Mata, United's record signing when he was bought by Moyes for £37.1 million (S$79 million) from Chelsea in January, was one of six changes Giggs made to the side that was beaten at Everton in Moyes's last game in charge six days earlier.

However, the former Chelsea attacker made an instant impact with two goals that added to the earlier double - including a penalty - scored by Rooney.

"That was a tough one," said Giggs of his decision to omit Mata. "He was disappointed but I expected that. It would be strange if he wasn't.

"He just showed that class he's got, both as a player and as a professional. He put on a half-hour masterclass, he was brilliant and I was really happy for him.

"It's not easy. He has a big price-tag so to not start the game was disappointing for him. I'm really pleased he came on and made such an impact."

Giggs, who has played 962 games and won 25 major trophies in his glittering Old Trafford career, has now tasted victory as a manager and clearly relished the experience, whatever the future may hold for him.

"You put a lot of pressure on yourself this week so there is more relief as a player in the thick of it," he said.

"But it is the same feeling to have won a game. I'm delighted."

Norwich remained a point above the bottom three immediately after the United defeat, although by the time the Canaries play at Chelsea on May 4 they could find themselves in the relegation zone.

"We're still outside the bottom three as we speak," said Norwich manager Neil Adams.

"But we can't depend on other teams. We have to make sure we get our own points.

"We're going to have to be braver than we were today (Saturday) - not just physically, it's about getting on the ball and making things happen."

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