Southampton v Manchester United: Ryan Giggs eyes Europa League qualification to sign off his interim stint as United manager

Giggs will take charge of his final match in charge with the club expected to confirm the appointment of Louis van Gaal as permanent manager next week

Ryan Giggs wants to sign off his spell as Manchester United manager by leading the club into the Europa League.

Giggs' final act as interim United boss will come on Sunday when he takes his team to Southampton for the last match of what has been a dreadful campaign.

Ever since he made his debut back in 1991, Giggs has never ended a season without having the prospect of European football to look forward to after the summer break.

But this year United are looking increasingly likely to finish outside the qualification places. Already without a chance of making the Champions League, United will miss out on the Europa League unless they beat Southampton and Tottenham lose at home to Aston Villa.

Many United fans want their team to finish seventh. The Europa League is far less prestigious than the Champions League and not qualifying for Europe can help a team's domestic fortunes - as everyone has seen with Liverpool this year.

 

Giggs does not agree with those who say the Europa League would be more trouble than it is worth, though.

"I maintain my stance, we want to be in Europe," United's interim player-manager said.

"We can only qualify for the Europa League and we will carry on trying to do that.

"It would have been in our hands now if we had beaten Sunderland (last week) because Tottenham lost (to West Ham).

"That was disappointing for us."

Europe or no Europe, whether Giggs will be involved with United - either as a player or a coach - is still up in the air.

"I am going to take a holiday as soon as the season finishes and discuss with family and friends what to do next," said the Welshman, who came off the bench for a 20-minute cameo in the 3-1 win over Hull on Tuesday night.

"It is not something I am thinking too much about, but I will."

The skills are still there - that much was evident when he went tearing down the left wing at Old Trafford in midweek.

It is just a question of whether Giggs is ready to commit himself to another year of strict diet, fitness regimes, and the pressure of performing for a new manager, expected to be Louis van Gaal.

When Giggs took the microphone and addressed the 75,000 plus fans inside Old Trafford after the Hull win, it seemed like it was the end of an era.

Giggs' future is still up the air while Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra both could leave the club next month.

United are yet to exercise their option to keep Ferdinand for another year. Under the terms of his current deal, Evra has the option to extend his contract, but he has yet to do so.

Read more: Giggs expects 'announcement soon'
Ferdinand warns United Vidic could be the next Jaap Stam

Part of Giggs' mission when he was appointed interim manager was to lift the spirits of the dressing room and he has certainly done that.

Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Anders Lindegaard, who compared Giggs to Pep Guardiola, have all said Giggs has made a huge impact since taking over from David Moyes, who was sacked just 10 months into a six-year contract.

Striker Javier Hernandez added his name to that list at the club's annual awards ceremony.

"He has been incredible," the Mexican told MUTV.

"There are no words that can describe him.

"You don't know if he is going to stay here next year, but for these games it has been unbelievable to have played for Ryan Giggs."

Nicky Butt, a fellow Class of '92 graduate who has been a member of Giggs' backroom staff in his three matches in charge, has been impressed by how his former team-mate has taken to management.

"He has stepped up really well," Butt said.

"It's difficult for him because he has played with (this squad) for a long time - he knows them as friends, so not to drop them has been difficult for him but he is a mentally strong lad.

"He has taken to it like a duck to water."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks