Giggs urges United to match drive of Chelsea

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The Independent Football

Ryan Giggs has warned his Manchester United team-mates they must match Chelsea's hunger if they are going to complete a Premier League title hat-trick.

United's championship defence did not get off to the greatest of starts on Sunday as they were held by Newcastle in their opening game at Old Trafford. It means the Red Devils have already fallen two points adrift of Luiz Felipe Scolari's Chelsea, plus major rivals Arsenal and Liverpool, and the chances are they will be even further behind by the time they face Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Monday.

With testing away games at Anfield and Stamford Bridge to come in September, United must battle hard just to stay in touch.

And Giggs, a veteran of all 10 league successes under Sir Alex Ferguson, feels United have to show the same desire as Chelsea to gain the success they want.

"Chelsea did not win the Premier League last year," Giggs said. "I have been in that position. You are hungry and determined, and you want to win it, simple as that.

"We have got to match their determination, their hunger and their desire. But we have players at the club who have tasted success over the last couple of years and want more."

Sir Alex Ferguson will hope there are some developments on the striker front once Dimitar Berbatov returns from international duty in Bosnia.

The Bulgaria captain has already made it plain to Tottenham that he wants to leave for Old Trafford but so far Spurs have shown no sign of budging on their £30m pricetag.

One player set to leave United for considerably less is Mikaël Silvestre, who seems increasingly likely to join Arsenal. The Frenchman is due a testimonial at Old Trafford next season, which was believed to be one of the stumbling blocks to a move away from the club.

Manchester City and Sunderland have been trying to prise the former France international away but Arsenal have now stepped in.

Having prevented Gabriel Heinze from joining Liverpool last season, Ferguson might well have preferred not to do a deal with old rival Arsène Wenger, having never previously had any transfer dealings with the Frenchman.

However, relations between the pair have thawed – to such an extent they will be part of a Q&A session together at Wembley next month – and Ferguson will not stand in Silvestre's way.

As the £750,000 transfer fee will not be a stumbling block for Arsenal, Silvestre will presumably accept the opportunity to play in the Champions League particularly as Sunderland, where as late as yesterday afternoon he appeared to be heading, have not qualified for Europe while City are on the verge of crashing out of the Uefa Cup to Danish outfit FC Midtjylland.

The former United, Chelsea and Aston Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has signed a seven-week contract with A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners. The 36-year-old goalkeeper, who last played in the Australian top flight in December 1991, has been on trial with the reigning A-League champions for the last month and is eligible to face Sydney on Saturday.

Bosnich has not played professional football since he was sacked by Chelsea and handed a nine-month ban by the Football Association after testing positive for cocaine in 2003.

"I'm just taking it step by step, this is the first little tick in the box and I'm very thankful to everybody at Central Coast," said Bosnich. "I feel very, very fit, I've still got a long way to go fitness-wise and I think that will come with match practice.

"I'm looking forward in the next three weeks to getting back to a certain level that is comparable to where I was in the past."

Pressed on his plans for the future, Bosnich would not rule out a return to England should an offer arise.

"If I was fortunate enough to get an offer I would sit down with everyone concerned who has an interest and who I care about and discuss that, but I don't really think that's up to me," he added. "If someone was generous enough to make an offer then I would consider it and I'd be totally honest and up front with Central Coast – there's no smoke and mirrors here."

In Italy, meanwhile, Milan's chief executive Adriano Galliani was soaked by a bottle of water and insulted by rival fans as he arrived for the funeral of the Roma president Franco Sensi yesterday.

Galliani was jeered by a group of Roma fans outside the church in Rome as water was thrown over him. The Internazionale president Massimo Moratti was also heckled on his arrival. Sensi, 82, died on Sunday after a long illness, having been Roma president for 15 years.