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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific