Southampton 1 Manchester United 1 match report: Ryan Giggs primed to make quick decision over Manchester United future

United end their woeful season with a well-earned point

St Mary's

Ryan Giggs expects to have to make a rapid decision on his future if, as anticipated, Manchester United announce Louis van Gaal as their new manager this week.

Giggs said after the match that taking a coaching post under the incoming manager is one of a number of options, but he does not expect to be allowed to take his time if Van Gaal has an opening on his staff.

“I’ll need to think about my own position and decide what I’m going to do,” he said. “Whether to play on or not, whether to stay on in the staff and what position that’s going to be, whether I’ll just take a year off from football, all the options are open. I’ll look at everything, but I’ll probably have to do it quick if a new manager is appointed.”

Giggs selected a strong-looking United side for his fourth and final match as caretaker-manager but they struggled to a low-key draw. Juan Mata’s equaliser from a free-kick was their only effort on target until the dying  seconds.

The whole afternoon felt less like the end of a season than the end of an era – for both clubs. United are sure to have a new look on the field as well as in the dugout as they attempt to recover from the shock of missing out on European football for the first time in 24 seasons.

As well as Nemanja Vidic, who is on his way to Internazionale, United fans probably had their last sight of Rio  Ferdinand and Patrice Evra in their club’s shirts.

But if radical change is United’s hope, it is also Southampton’s fear. Their supporters cannot feel very confident that Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw or even manager  Mauricio Pochettino will be at St Mary’s next season. However, Pochettino, thought to be a target for Tottenham Hotspur, shed even less light on his situation than Giggs did on his.

 

“I still have a year of my contract left and it’s normal that these rumours are going to start cropping up,” he said. “[Today] we are going to sit down and talk. This is the end of a five-year project that started with Markus Liebherr buying the club and appointing Nicola Cortese as chairman. Now a new project has to start. We’ll see how that happens.”

England probables Shaw and Lallana were both taken off early, perhaps to give each the chance to wave his goodbyes, although Pochettino denied any ulterior motives. “Adam looked tired, Luke Shaw had a bit of cramp, so there wasn’t anything behind those decisions,” he said.

Shaw, who interests United and Chelsea, looked every inch the future England regular, as good going forward as he was snuffing out the threat of Adnan Januzaj. One marauding run that left Chris Smalling trailing in his wake looked as if a point was being made to the watching England head coach Roy Hodgson as well as United.

Southampton made all the early running, and went ahead in the 28th minute as Rickie Lambert took a pass from Steven Davis and beat David De Gea at his near post. Vidic, writhing on the ground and with blood flowing from a head wound, claimed that Lambert had elbowed him in the build-up to the goal, but replays appeared to suggest that Vidic had jumped into Lambert rather than vice versa.

Giggs replaced Shinji Kagawa with Michael Carrick at the interval and his team found an equaliser in the 54th minute when Victor Wanyama fouled Danny Welbeck two yards outside the penalty area and Mata’s left foot sent the ball over the wall and high past Artur Boruc’s left hand.

“We changed things and it was a lot better,” Giggs said. “We kept possession well and there was only one winner. I enjoyed the second half and didn’t want it to end.

“Hopefully [being out of Europe] will help us in our league form and we’ll have good cup runs. We’re a club and team that wants to win things and this year has been frustrating, it’s not  happened.

“But it’s like any defeat that we’ve had, we try to come back stronger and that’s what we’ll do.”

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