Manchester United 3 Olympiakos 0: 'Freak' Ryan Giggs praised by manager David Moyes, but Gary Neville questions why hasn't he played more?

Moyes lavished praise on the 40-year-old midfielder for 'defying his age' as the Welshman shone against Olympiakos, but Neville can't explain why he has played just 81 minutes in 10 weeks

Ryan Giggs has been labelled a “freak” by Manchester United manager David Moyes following his standout return to the starting XI in the 3-0 Champions League victory over Olympiakos that the club progress to the quarter-finals.

The 40-year-old was in inspirational form on his first start since the end of January, controlling the United midfield and providing the platform from which the side could attack from. Needing to overturn a 2-0 deficit suffered on their trip to Athens last month, Robin van Persie fired a hat-trick to ensure progression to the last-eight, although both Giggs and David de Gea also put in impressive showings at Old Trafford.

Giggs laid on two goals for the Dutch striker, and having featured for just 81 minutes across the past 10 weeks, Moyes has admitted that he needed the Welshman in what was undoubtedly his best night since taking the reins from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Read more: Moyes buoyed by RVP hat-trick
Who might sign for United this summer?
Moyes praises 'freak' Giggs
Moyes hopes RVP is 'not too bad'

“I thought he is 40 years old and I need to be looking to the future,” Moyes revealed when questioned why he had left out the player/coach in recent weeks. “I have been trying to give everyone opportunities. Ryan is not going to go on forever so we have to find the new Ryan Giggs and use other players but we needed his experience tonight.

 

“Tactically, I needed him to carry out a certain role, which he knew and did perfectly, as well as his role in the goals. His two passes made two of the goals. His passing was fantastic and his all-round play was very good.

“He defies his age, he is a great player. Everyone who has been at Manchester United knows he is a great player. It’s incredible the amount of games he’s played in the Champions League [140]. He was fantastic, the passes he made, his general football, and his fitness. Normally you think with a player like that you need to bring them off at 60 minutes but not him. He’s a freak.”

However, despite enjoying success in what was a must-win fixture, Moyes was criticised by Sky Sports pundit and former United defender Gary Neville, who questioned why Giggs hadn’t been selected when the Red Devils has clearly suffered a lack of forward passing in the heart of the midfield.

“I don't know why [Moyes] hasn't played [Giggs],” Neville said on Sky Sports. “It's strange he hasn't played him for two or three months.

“He usually played every two or three weeks in the last few years. He usually gets his games hand-picked for him. That's not happening in the last 12 weeks. Moyes has looked at the younger ones.

“[Against Olympiakos] he's needed big performances and he got them from Giggs, de Gea and [Danny] Welbeck.”

Read more: Unconvincing victory fails to hide lack of quality
Five things we learnt at Old Trafford
Manchester United player ratings

Despite the victory coming at a time when Moyes – and the club – were desperate for a victory, the 50-year-old was keen to avoid describing the result as a “watershed” moment, having seen previous victories labelled as such earlier in the season.

“We hadn’t played well in the first leg but we put it right tonight,” Moyes continued. “It was only another game, an important one, but I wouldn’t use the word you used [watershed], that’s for sure. People will probably think it’s a turning point in people’s careers but I didn’t see it like that because the club don’t see it like that. I see myself here for a long time.”

Moyes went on to speak on his own future, which he insists he is not concerned about despite growing pressure for him to be replaced following the comprehensive 3-0 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool last weekend.

“I’m not feeling any pressure from inside the club, it’s coming from you people [the media],” he claimed. “We know the job we have to do and it’s probably bigger than what I thought when I first came to the club. But after Sunday’s performance and result we needed to bounce back and I thought we did it with style, played very well and deservedly got our victory.

“I have said before that results could take us on and sometimes it has not gone the way we wanted, so I don’t want to come out here and say this is the moment. But at the same time, I really hope it is. We know it is a work in progress and it is going to take time to get things the way we want it. The result means we have got ourselves another two games in the Champions League, something we will really look forward to.”

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee