Giggs confident Manchester United can bounce back

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The Independent Football

Ryan Giggs can see no reason why Manchester United should not put their FA Cup woes to the back of their mind at Birmingham tomorrow.

United were dumped out of the most prestigious domestic cup competition at the first hurdle by League One leaders Leeds United last Sunday.

It was the first time Sir Alex Ferguson had suffered such an experience in 23 years at the Old Trafford helm and represented the first time United had been beaten in the tournament by lower-league opposition since 1984.

Since then, the knives have been out, with many critics arguing a financial straitjacket being imposed by the debt incurred for the Glazer family to complete their controversial takeover was causing Ferguson to back away from big-money transfers for top-rated stars.

Ferguson has always denied this and Giggs, who was given the Freedom of Salford at a ceremony at The Lowry Theatre yesterday, does not believe the situation is as bleak as the one being painted at present.

"The turn of the year is when we are notoriously at our best," he said.

"We have a great team at the moment and I still believe there is more for me to win.

"It has always been the same. One defeat and it is a disaster. That is never going to change.

"But we don't get carried away with that, just the same as we wouldn't get carried away if we had won 10 on the bounce.

"It is up to us to work hard and get back to winning ways because we are still in a strong position."

Rumours about the debt will not go away until Ferguson spends a substantial proportion of the world record £80million received from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ferguson has picked out certain individuals for praise in the past, including CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, while he tabled a £30million bid for Karim Benzema last summer but was ultimately rebuffed.

As Benzema has not exactly set the world on fire at Real Madrid, there is a possibility that deal could be resurrected.

Talk of a loan to Bologna for Italian teenager Federico Macheda would certainly create room in the striking department, although it seems Nani will have to forget a move away from Old Trafford as the possibility of a deal - Benfica was one club mentioned - has receded.

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