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?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
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

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review