Champions' League exit to champions is United's goal

They have all been through it and now one of them must do it again. Year after year, either Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United have been ejected from European competition – often in cruel manner – only to respond by becoming champions of England. The difference this time is that all three, having suffered their disappointment a little earlier than usual, are still in contention for what would be a more highly prized consolation than ever.

Thus it was that within minutes of suffering the hammer blow inflicted by Bayern Munich, and specifically Arjen Robben, at Old Trafford on Wednesday, United were setting their sights anew, on what in their case would be a piece of history. Who better to encourage them from the heart of the dressing room than Ryan Giggs?

As with just about everything, good and bad, that has befallen the club in recent times, Giggs has been there before. Half-a-dozen times he has seen them recover from the disappointment of Champions' League elimination to win the Premier League. In this case, as has been well recorded, even the Welshman would be breaking new ground if United were to finish top for the fourth successive season.

"Of course we can rescue the season, even though it was a disappointing night," he said in the aftermath of Bayern's success on the away-goals rule. "There are so many positives and we have five games to go and we have to win them all. It won't be easy but we are capable of doing it. Hopefully Chelsea and Arsenal will slip up but that is what we will be aiming to do."

The complication, of course, as the chase resumes with United's visit to Blackburn this afternoon, is that Chelsea are currently two points in front after their deserved victory at Old Trafford last weekend, and Arsenal are just a single point behind. It is tempting to suggest that the eventual champions will be the team who deal best with their most dangerous away matches, namely Chelsea's two games at Tottenham and Liverpool, United's derby at Eastlands and Arsenal's visit to White Hart Lane on Wednesday. As has happened before, however, a draw or even defeat against unexpectedly inspired or defiant opposition could be the result that undermines a whole campaign.

Blackburn away today could be such a game, but Giggs will have been pleased to hear Sir Alex Ferguson say: "We will have to depend on experience.It is a game for Giggs and [Paul] Scholes and probably Gary Neville. Blackburn is never an easy place to go to. The pitch is not very good, it is bare and lively now the weather has turned. I am stronger squadwise than I've ever been. The test is as much mental and physical but they have to go for it."

Giggs was adamant that the sense of regret over Wednesday must be quickly overcome and used as a spur by the younger players who, he felt – generously in the case of Rafael da Silva – distinguished themselves against Bayern. "Learning from these disappointments for young players is what being a Manchester United player is all about. When I was 18 or 19, I had loads of disappointments. I had a lot of success as well but it can help you in the long run and you remember these nights and don't want to feel like this again, so you try and do something about it. You have to take knocks in your career but it's how you come back that makes you into a United player."

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders