English Premiership

Ferguson hails Giggs

2012-02-27 08:44
Alex Ferguson (AFP)

Norwich - Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Ryan Giggs for the late winner that kept Manchester United within touching distance of leaders Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.

Giggs' goal in the second minute of stoppage time earned United a 2-1 win at Norwich City on Sunday. Paul Scholes had given United an early lead but that was cancelled out in the 83rd minute by a fine strike by City captain Grant Holt.

Ferguson was delighted his side had not fallen four points behind City, who had beaten Blackburn Rovers 3-0 on Saturday. Now they are two points adrift with both Manchester teams having 12 games still to play.

"Given the career Ryan has had, to score the winning goal with the last kick of the game, I think he deserved that," the Scot said.

"It was a marvellous cross from Ashley Young.

"But I have to say we were lucky today(Sunday), in the sense Norwich had more promise about them. I thought we were lethargic, too casual on the ball.

"Then when we lost the goal, we played brilliantly. That tells you something about the temperament, they do not get nervous and started to up their game, so that augurs well for us.

"The players know they should have done better during the game, and that is irrespective of Norwich being the better team, they just kept crossing that ball into the box."

Ferguson also praised goalkeeper David de Gea and central defensive pairing Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans for withstanding a fierce Norwich barrage.

"Without Ferdinand, Evans and De Gea, we would have been down," he said. "They were brilliant the three of them, in the second half."

Ferguson also found words for veteran Scholes, who had come out of retirement earlier in the season to answer his manager's call.

"I forgot about Scholesy scoring the first one," Ferguson admitted. "He and Giggs are the best players this club has ever had."

The result was hard on Paul Lambert, the Norwich manager, but he had been delighted by the way his players had responded to going behind so early in the game.

"We were excellent," he said. "But Manchester United have been doing that for 25 years. Norwich have also been scoring late goals so I suppose I need to take my own medicine. Now I know what it feels like

"But we gave it everything and I couldn't have asked for more. We were excellent but by the end we were running on empty and Manchester United come at you from all angles."

Scholes' seventh-minute goal was a simple header after Nani had picked him out at the back post with a cross from the right.

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy was needed to make saves from Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck on a day when Wayne Rooney was absent with a throat infection that will also keep him out of England's friendly with the Netherlands next week.

But de Gea was also busy and made impressive stops to deny Anthony Pilkington and Holt in the first half.

Holt made it 1-1 seven minutes from time with an impressive shot on the turn but Giggs then had the last word.

Lambert also paid homage to United's evergreens.

"The two of them are a huge part of Manchester United's history. They know how to win and they have won major tournaments. They are two fabulous footballers."

Read more on:    epl  |  alex ferguson  |  ryan giggs
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