Giggs hopes Japan trip will not derail title bid

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The Independent Football

Ryan Giggs is crossing his fingers the draining effects of jet-lag do not have a negative influence on Manchester United's hopes of a Premier League title hat-trick.

United appeared to show no ill-effects on Thursday, booking a place in tomorrow's World Club Cup final against Liga de Quito at the expense of Gamba Osaka.

Yet Giggs confirmed both he and a number of his team-mates were still struggling with sleep deprivation. He said: "I hope it won't have a knock-on effect to our title defence. We don't know how it will affect us next Friday [against Stoke]. It has been quite difficult over here. I have not slept much, four or five hours sleep a night really.

"You just have to prepare the best you can. It is a bit of a problem. Overall the team looked fit and sharp.

"We have a squad big enough to handle the games over the Christmas period and we just hope that, come that game against Stoke, we have got over it."

United have already started doing their homework on Quito and had a presence at Wednesday's semi-final in Tokyo when the Ecuadorian side eased past Mexico's Pachuca.

"They are a typical South American team," said the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. "Quito are competitive and mobile and they can defend well. It won't be an easy match for us but it is a world championship final and we want to win it."

Ferguson has confirmed his intention to make changes to his starting line-up, with Wayne Rooney among those set to come in and Edwin van der Sar part of the group to miss out.