MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Ryan Giggs had almost become the forgotten man at Old Trafford this season. That’s about to change.
In the most turbulent period at Manchester United in a generation, the club is turning to one of its greatest players to restore some order.
Giggs was appointed United’s temporary coach Tuesday following the firing of David Moyes after a woeful 10 months in charge.
The Welshman is still on United’s playing squad at age 40 — in the 23rd season of a remarkable career at the club. He was a member of Moyes’ coaching staff and has had aspirations for a while of being a manager. Now he’ll get his chance.
With four league games remaining, Giggs is likely to be in charge until the end of the season, starting with Saturday’s home match against Norwich.
The task? To lift some of the gloom surrounding the club and aim for 12 points that could earn United a place in next season’s Europa League, scant comfort in a sobering year.
“I definitely think Ryan will be a manager,” former United captain Bryan Robson said Tuesday. “Whether he gets it full time at a club like Manchester United is a big ask.”
A person with knowledge of the situation at United said Giggs was not being considered for the full-time position and the club would be seeking an experienced manager. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the club was yet to announce the moves.
Four straight wins to end the season may just make United’s board think again, however. Especially if his team plays with the heart and adventure that has characterized Giggs’ distinguished career.
“For me, I think in the last four games, there will be more togetherness and playing a brand of football that is more eye-catching,” said Dwight Yorke, who played alongside Giggs in United’s triple champion team in the 1998-99 season.
“Players will play more in the United way. Four games is not a lot, but I think Giggs is the right man.”
One of Moyes’ problems was his failure to command respect from the players. In the end, it seemed they simply stopped playing for him.
That isn’t likely to happen with Giggs. After all, he has won 13 Premier Leagues, four F.A. Cups, three League Cups, two Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a Club World Cup. He also played for 22 years under former manager Alex Ferguson.
Frontale progress in ACL
Kawasaki Frontale became the first J. League club to reach the knockout phase of the Asian Champions League with a 3-1 victory over Ulsan Hyundai in Group H on Tuesday.
Yu Kobayashi and Yoshito Okubo struck in the opening half, with man-of-the-match Jeci closing the scoring late as Frontale finished second in the group behind Western Sydney Wanderers on goal difference, qualifying for the last 16 for the first time since 2009.
Wanderers beat last-place Guizhou Renhe 5-0 at home. Kawasaki meets the winner of Group F, which includes Sanfrecce Hiroshima, in a home-and-away tie.
“It wasn’t like playing Ulsan away,” Frontale captain Kengo Nakamura said. “We can play the way we want to here. As we’ve said from the start of this competition, this is the style we want to win in Asia with.”
In Group G, Yokohama F. Marinos were not as fortunate, crashing out of the tournament after losing 2-1 at champions Guangzhou Evergrande to finish last in the pool.