'It is beyond belief anybody could criticise him': Alex Ferguson defends Ryan Giggs

Welshman has not made the impact of previous years

Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed incredulity that Ryan Giggs should be the brunt of so much criticism this season.

Now 39, the Manchester United winger has had his appearances restricted this term.

And, on many of the occasions that he has been involved, Giggs has struggled to make the impact he has managed in previous years.

Not surprisingly, some United fans have questioned whether the veteran Welshman should extend his stellar career into his 40th year.

Ferguson has never lost faith though and was rewarded with Giggs' best performance of the season in Boxing Day's 4-3 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.

"How can you criticise a player that has given you 20 years?" said Ferguson.

"Let's be honest. He may have an off day here and there because I don't play him all the time.

"The problem for a player of Ryan's pride and experience is that he probably wants to play more. He loses that game-play time that gives him consistency.

"But at his age I can't afford to risk him.

"I don't think I will play him against West Brom tomorrow simply because of the energy he expended on Wednesday to help win the match for us.

"But it is beyond belief anybody could criticise him. I don't understand it."

Not that Giggs seems too bothered about fending off such negative talk.

He is far too concerned with securing title number 20 for United, which would be his 13th.

"It is a great team to play in," he said. "We have so many options up front and the addition of Robin van Persie has brought that bit extra to the centre-forward position which already has the class of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.

"We've also got Shinji Kagawa, who started the season so well for us but has been injured recently."

The problem, evidently, is the staggering number of goals conceded by a side that has established a seven-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Four clean sheets in all competitions represents a pretty poor return for a team so adept at defending.

Yet, much as the room for improvement is obvious, as Giggs says, it is almost churlish to complain given the overall position.

"At the moment it's a case of the team scoring more than the opposition," said Giggs.

"We've not had too many clean sheets which is what we all want, but to we can't complain at where we are at the moment.

"We're top of the league with a bit of daylight between ourselves and City and we've got through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League."

The return of skipper Nemanja Vidic may have a positive impact once the Serbian gets his match fitness back.

Vidic may be involved tomorrow against a West Brom side who are one of the surprise packages this season.

And if previous performances are any guide, United cannot believe they would be able to fall behind three times and still pull the situation around, as was the case on Wednesday.

"I'm not surprised to see Steve Clarke do a great job," said Giggs.

"He's had a few assistant manager jobs but he's taken control of the team now and taken them to that next level.

"West Brom were already a very side team under Roy Hodgson.

"They are organised and score goals and I think they could stay around the top for a while.

"It all depends on injuries and suspensions. If they keep everyone fit then they'll have a great chance.

"Confidence will be high that's for sure because they are not in a false position.

"I have seen a few of their games and they've performed really well.

"Tomorrow will be a really tough game for us."


David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments