Ryan Giggs insists Manchester United are focused on Southampton rather than Real Madrid

Champions League date against Spanish champions is looming

Ryan Giggs insists Manchester United will not allow thoughts of Real Madrid to cloud their Barclays Premier League title assault.

It is now just a fortnight until United head to Spain for a summit meeting with Jose Mourinho and a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo to scrap it out for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The two-legged confrontation has captured the imagination of supporters worldwide, pitting arguably football's two most famous club sides in direct confrontation, even without the individual personalities involved.

However, Giggs is acutely aware three key Premier League engagements must be navigated first, starting with tomorrow's Old Trafford encounter with Southampton.

And he knows the glamour of a night out at the Bernabeu must not be allowed to affect United's focus.

"We're not thinking about Madrid," said Giggs.

"Everyone was excited when the draw was made but you can't look too far ahead.

"You want to perform in games like that and be in good form going into them. That is what we intend to do and the best way of achieving that is to concentrate on the opponents immediately ahead."

As someone who has played a professional career now approaching its 22nd year under the guidance of one man, Giggs is not the most obvious person to ask about the upheaval at St Mary's following Nigel Adkins' recent dismissal.

Yet Giggs would have to exist in a bubble not to appreciate the wacky world football has become, and some of the seemingly strange decisions that are made in the name of progress.

And, as someone keen on entering the management game when his stellar playing career finally reaches its conclusion, the 39-year-old knows the pressures that come with being a top-flight boss.

More than that, Giggs realises players tend to be an expedient bunch on the whole.

"Players just get on with it," he said.

"Everyone was shocked when Nigel Adkins went, but ultimately players have got a job to do.

"The new manager (Mauricio Pochettino) will put his ideas across and players will just get on with it."

Thus far, Pochettino has only had one game to deal with, which resulted in a home draw against Everton.

Of far more significance to Giggs is that result being part of a run which has seen the Saints go six Premier League games unbeaten, and lose two of their last 13, enough to haul themselves out of the relegation zone and edge away from trouble.

The warning will be enough to trigger the return of 22-goal Robin van Persie, who sat out Saturday's FA Cup win over Fulham but is looking for a new personal landmark of scoring in six consecutive league matches.

In addition central defensive duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are also set to be recalled as United defend their record of never losing to the Saints in a league match at Old Trafford since 1988, when Colin Clarke did the damage, grabbing both goals in a 2-0 win.

"It will be another tough game for us," said Giggs.

"I suppose you could say there are no easy games in this league but Southampton have been in decent form and gave us a good game earlier in the season, so we'll need to play well.

"You want to perform well for your satisfaction and your own form. It also gives you confidence going into the next game."

PA

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

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
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week