Champions League

Giggs, RVP buy Moyes time

2014-03-20 13:18
David Moyes (File)

Manchester - In Manchester United manager David Moyes's hour of need, it was two players alleged to have lost faith in him who rode to his rescue.

Hours before the second leg of United's Champions League last 16 tie against Olympiakos on Wednesday, Moyes felt compelled to publicly denounce rumours of rifts with Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie.

The two players were reported to have fallen out with the Scot, but Moyes told MUTV the claims were "rubbish" and the pair rewarded him by inspiring United to a 3-0 victory that took them into Friday's quarter-finals draw.

Van Persie took the plaudits with a hat-trick, but it was Giggs's performance that set the tone on a boisterous evening at Old Trafford.

The 40-year-old Welshman - reported to have been angered by the stories of a bust-up with Moyes - was making his first start since January 28, but he patrolled the centre of the pitch with effortless authority.

Not every pass reached its target, but after finding his range with a through ball to Danny Welbeck in the fifth minute, he created both of Van Persie's first two goals with raking balls from the halfway line.

The first led to the 25th-minute penalty from which the Dutchman broke the deadlock. The second, in first-half injury time, enabled Wayne Rooney to cross for Van Persie to level the tie.

Team-mate Phil Jones described the pass to Van Persie in the build-up to the penalty as "exquisite" and Giggs's midfield partner Michael Carrick concurred.

"What's left to say about him?" Carrick said.

"He is just incredible. He comes into a game like that and he hasn't played a lot of football, so to physically be able to do it and get through a game shows how well he looks after himself.

"The ball to Wayne for the second goal was - that was just him."

Moyes said that Van Persie's hat-trick was something that "only several players in the world" could have produced, and he had reason to be thankful for the former Arsenal man's match-winning contribution.

In light of United's domestic struggles, which have seen them fall 18 points off the pace in the Premier League, Moyes had found his position under scrutiny in the build-up to the game.

Thursday's edition of The Sun claimed that the comeback against Olympiakos had "kept Moyes in a job", and the common consensus was that the result had bought him time but nothing more.

The Daily Mirror said that Moyes was "hanging in there", while for the BBC, "United's win releases the pressure valve, but only temporarily".

United visit West Ham United in the league on Saturday before hosting Manchester City on Tuesday and a performance in either game akin to last Sunday's 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool will see doubts quickly resurface.

United's fans gave their side vociferous support throughout the game against Olympiakos, but Andy Mitten, editor of the United We Stand fanzine, warned beforehand that their patience was wearing thin.

"Up until a month ago, there was a lot of support for David Moyes, but that has changed," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The club's board, meanwhile, will be reluctant to hand Moyes a reported 150 million ($249 million, 179 million euros) transfer budget without more enduring evidence of progress.

United's league position - 12 points below the top four - means that they may need to win the Champions League just to qualify for next season's tournament.

Teams like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain all pack a far greater punch than Olympiakos, but Carrick says that United will approach the quarter-final draw with no trepidation.

"It's brilliant. It's the place to be," said the England midfielder.

"There are some big teams in there and you can't pick an easy team. Every one of them looks strong and we look forward to seeing who we get."


NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Basel v Manchester City, TBA 21:45
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Real Madrid v PSG, TBA 21:45
Porto v Liverpool, TBA 21:45
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Chelsea v Barcelona, TBA 21:45
Bayern Munchen v Besiktas, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma, TBA 21:45
Sevilla v Manchester United, TBA 21:45
Tuesday, 06 March 2018
PSG v Real Madrid, TBA 21:45
Liverpool v Porto, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 07 March 2018
Manchester City v Basel, TBA 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus, TBA 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.