English Premiership

Giggs eyes more of the same

2014-05-02 10:32
Ryan Giggs (AFP)

Manchester - Manchester United caretaker boss Ryan Giggs will look to carry on from where he left off when Sunderland visit Old Trafford on Saturday amid consistent speculation that Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal is closing in on the job of permanent manager.

Giggs, 40, guided United to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Norwich last week after David Moyes was sacked as manager of the faltering Premier League champions.

Any discussions between United and Van Gaal, the overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers, are sure to involve what role the Dutchman, 62, has in mind for the United veteran, whose contract as a player-coach expires following the end of this season.

With Giggs restoring the feel-good factor with United's impressive win over Norwich, there have been calls for him to be given the Old Trafford post full-time.

However, former France striker Louis Saha, who was at United with Giggs between 2004 and 2008, believes that four games is not long enough for the Welshman to prove himself as a potential candidate.

"It's a great opportunity for him. He's definitely got the quality, the character and the charisma," Saha said.

"The experience is maybe the only thing missing but when you play 20 years at United you know how to work and how to behave.

"It's sad because he could have been given another month to prove to people that he's the right choice but only four games is not enough.

"I think Ryan deserves a chance but we haven't seen him in Champions League or the rotation system because when you're in the hotseat it's totally different."

Giggs may be tempted to change a winning team by bringing Robin van Persie back into the side.

Van Persie returned to training at the end of last week following a knee injury that has kept the Dutch striker out since March and will be pushing to feature against the Black Cats as he looks to build his fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Sunderland emerged victorious from a League Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out at Old Trafford in January, but that triumph was in stark contrast to their league form at the Theatre of Dreams, where they are without a win since 1968.

After an unlikely return of seven points from the last nine helped them to climb out of the bottom three for the first time since mid-February, two wins from their final three games should be enough to secure an eighth consecutive season in the top flight, given their superior goal difference to Norwich - who occupy the final relegation place.

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole feels it could take as little as one more victory to complete their dramatic escape, but he agreed Gus Poyet's side must go all out for victory in each of their remaining fixtures.

The north-east side host West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City in the final week of the season following Saturday's visit to Old Trafford.

"A few games ago, we were looking to get 10 points to stay up," Cattermole said.

"After the last three games, we're three points away from that target now. Another win might be enough, but we have to look to win every game.

"I know the next game is at Manchester United, but we've done well away from home all season and we'll go there looking to give another good account of ourselves after winning the penalty shoot-out there at the start of the year."

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