Ryan Giggs believes - like his captain, Roy Keane - that the European Cup is Manchester United's priority this season.
Speaking before United's friendly yesterday evening against last season's European Cup finalists Juventus at the Giants Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey, Giggs said: "Every season we talk about the Champions' League and I think we'll continue to do so until we win it again. We were obviously delighted to win it in 1999, but the next level is to go on and win it again and we've not managed that. I think that our form in Europe has been really good over the last two or three years, but for some reason we've just fallen at the last hurdle and we definitely need to improve upon that."
While he finished last season playing some of the finest football in his 15-year United career, a dip in form at the turn of the year meant intemperate criticism from some fans. He understands why.
"At United the expectations are high for every player and if you fall below them then you are going to have stick. I've never had it like last season but I've had it before and you rely on your experience to see you through. You know yourself if you're not playing well and whilst it's not pleasant I knew what I capable of and that I'd come through.
"You want to produce for the team and for yourself and you don't want to let your team-mates down, but there were a couple of things that maybe people didn't realise that helped me. I needed a couple of games to rest which did me good."
The most decorated player in United's history also became a father. "That helped me towards the end of the last season. There are obvious worries when you have a pregnant girlfriend and having a baby brought relief and allowed me to concentrate on my football."
Giggs, 29, also quashes reports that linked him with a move to Italy. "I saw the papers linking me with other clubs but as far as I was concerned that was as far as it went. Speculation is part of being a player and from my point of view I've never had any desire to leave and I didn't speak about it with the manager.
"I've got three years left on my contract and I've said it many times before, I want to stay at the club. I want to win the Champions' League again and I feel that we can definitely do that. We've got the players who are capable of doing that, we just need to go out and do it."Reuse content