JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria bring 'feel-good factor' to Man United, says Ryan Giggs

Date

Jim White

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Premier League splashes the cash in summer spending spree

With the European summer transfer window now firmly shut, here's a look at the biggest names - and the biggest spenders of the Premier League.

PT0M0S 620 349

When Ryan Giggs met Radamel Falcao at Manchester United's training ground, he intended that his first words to the expensively acquired newcomer would be instructive.

"Congratulations," he was going to say. "Welcome to the best club in the world."

Great expectations: Radamel Falcao is the Premier League's latest superstar acquisition.

Great expectations: Radamel Falcao is the Premier League's latest superstar acquisition. Photo: AFP

Despite the weight of recent evidence, despite finishing seventh in the Premier League last season, despite beginning this with a stutter, a stumble and a 4-0 humiliation in the League Cup, Giggs is convinced he was not being hyperbolic in his greeting.

"That's how I regard it, the biggest and the best," he explained as he spent the Monday afternoon before his meeting with the Colombian coaching a group of children at Flint Town football club in north Wales.

"There are fantastic clubs around the world, of course there are, but we played in Michigan the other day and there were 110,000 there against Real Madrid. It must have been 70-30 United.

New faces: Louis van Gaal (right) with Manchester United's new signing, midfielder Angel Di Maria.

New faces: Louis van Gaal (right) with Manchester United's new signing, midfielder Angel Di Maria. Photo: AFP

"For me, this is the biggest club in the world, no question. Coming seventh doesn't diminish that. But it can't happen again. Now we need to go out and prove it."

When he was installed as Louis van Gaal's assistant at Old Trafford this summer, the most decorated player in English football history became quickly aware of what his role entails. As his greeting to Falcao suggested, as the Dutchman sets about restructuring the playing staff, he is now the figure of continuity at the club.

"I'm the person who knows Manchester United inside out," he said. "Just passing on my experience of the place to the new coaching staff, to the new players, is important. It's my job to let everyone know what it's all about representing this club."

The scene in Flint's modest, homely little ground on a bright, blustery afternoon on the Dee Estuary, with dozens of small boys and girls tearing around the turf enthusiastically in their new kit, may seem a long way from the pressure and intensity of the Premier League. But, as he offered instruction, Giggs behaved much as he does on the touchline at Old Trafford: calm, undemonstrative, giving a word here or there, high-fiving goalscorers, endlessly encouraging.

"Listen, I'm a rookie at this," he explained after the session. "But whoever you're coaching, it is about getting that balance between letting them express themselves and if they do something wrong trying to put it right. If you can send them away with one thing in their mind that might help them, then that's great. That's what you want."

The one thing the increasingly expensive assembly of players at Old Trafford could do with right now is an injection of confidence. Several are playing as if devoid of it. For the coach, restoring that is a tricky task: defensive frailties or failure to counter set pieces can be addressed through drills and lectures. Confidence is a far more ephemeral commodity.

"When I was a player, if I was lacking confidence, the only way to get it back is on the training ground," Giggs said. "Getting that feel-good factor back comes through working hard at training. That's all a player can do: work."

So the coach has no input? "Obviously the staff having little words with you, pointers, suggestions, that helps. They observe you and tell you what you aren't doing as much, or what maybe you should be doing. That's what I try to do as a coach.

"If I see anything individually in a player's game I'll say something, but ultimately if you train well that gives you the platform to go out and play well. For me it was always hard work that solved things. But I agree confidence is a problem.

"It's not easy at times, especially at Old Trafford, where we've not performed really for over a year now – funnily enough, away from home there's not been the same problem. We need to get that sorted as quickly as possible."

One way to increase collective confidence, Giggs says, is to bring in internationals of the calibre of Falcao and Angel Di Maria.

"When you see players of that ilk coming into the club it's exciting; whether you're a player or a coach it gives you a buzz. You want to play with the best players and you certainly want to coach the best. We've got very good players at the club now. It's up to us –and them – to get that reflected in the results."

Another thing he is certain about is that the club could not have a better manager. Far too publicly tactful to be drawn on the deficiencies of David Moyes, van Gaal's predecessor, he is convinced the new man will get it right at Old Trafford.

"I spend a lot of time talking about football with him," Giggs said. "He loves talking about systems, about structure; he loves talking about individuals, about what players can and can't do. You could talk to him all day and learn so much. It's obviously great for me."

Van Gaal, he added, had a very different methodology to that of Sir Alex Ferguson, under whose instruction Giggs grew up.

"Obviously the manager – sorry, Sir Alex – had his ways of working. Basically his man-management was brilliant, his knowledge was brilliant, but he left the day-to-day stuff to Steve McClaren, Brian Kidd, Carlos Queiroz, Rene [Meulensteen] and Mick [Phelan].

"Louis is more hands on regarding what we're doing day to day, he takes the sessions. It's all very precise. He's very vocal during training, very keen to communicate exactly what it is he wants and expects."

Which is not the impression van Gaal gives on the touchline, where he remains impassive in his seat, cradling his leather document case, his face entirely unemotional.

"He is calm. He's probably finding his feet, but I noticed even during the World Cup he wasn't up and about much, he doesn't shout. But then, as a player, did I listen to what the manager was shouting?

"Probably not. You're concentrating on the game. As a manager – well, I was only a manager for four games, so I'm not sure that counts – I did feel at times that you need to try and put things right. Louis prefers to work on the training ground."

Giggs was quick to defend the system van Gaal is working on. "I thought the players got it pretty quickly, that was evident on tour," he said of the 3-5-2 formation.

"But for whatever reason, they haven't shown that ease since they came back. It may take a bit more time than we thought to get it right, but the players are on board. They are vocal on the training pitch and in the meetings. And that's what we want. We want this system to get results."

He added that his own morale had not been damaged by the sudden plunge into mediocrity afflicting his club. "I always took defeat badly. Winning was never as strong a feeling as losing. Winning was over quite quickly and when you suffered a defeat it lingered, it always had a bigger effect on me. That's not changed. But when you're at United you've got to win trophies, simple as that.

"Coming seventh last year wasn't good enough. We haven't started well this season, but we have to look to win something. We've got to be looking to contest the Premier League and look to get back in the Champions League. And I honestly believe, with the players we've now got, we're not far off."

With that Giggs had to return to Manchester for his first meeting with the new man Falcao. Though before he went there was one question that needed addressing: out on the pitch coaching the youngsters, when the ball landed at his feet, a sudden sparkle seemed to arrive in his eyes. Was that evidence he was missing playing?

"I've not really felt it until the game against Burnley, when I went out before the game to put the cones out and warm the lads up and I thought, this is a proper game this, the pitch was perfect. I just thought, I wouldn't mind playing today. Other than that, actually no, I've not felt it. It's not that I've not missed it, I've not thought about it. I'm looking ahead. There's a lot to look forward to."

The Telegraph, London

Comments

Be the first to comment.

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Related Coverage

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4vs WSW 1 Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs NEW 0 Stats
SYD 1vs MCY 1 Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs PER 2 Stats
BRI 1vs ADE 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs VIC 1 Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs WEL 2 Stats
SYD 3vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs NEW 1 Stats
PER 3vs BRI 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI 0vs SYD 2 Stats
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 5vs MCY 2 Stats
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4vs NEW 1 Stats
ADE 2vs PER 0 Stats
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 0vs CCM 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER 2vs NEW 1 Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 2vs CCM 0 Stats
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2vs WEL 0 Stats
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
WSW 0vs BRI 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs WSW 0 Stats
ADE 0vs SYD 0 Stats
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2vs VIC 2 Stats
BRI 1vs MCY 3 Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs PER 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs BRI 4 Stats
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs WEL 1 Stats
SYD 0vs VIC 0 Stats
PER 2vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2vs CCM 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1vs BRI 0 Stats
PER 2vs WEL 1 Stats
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs NEW 1 Stats
MCY 1vs SYD 2 Stats
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs ADE 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 3vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs PER 1 Stats
WSW 1vs SYD 1 Stats
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 5vs MCY 1 Stats
NEW 1vs CCM 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 1vs PER 2 Stats
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs WEL 3 Stats
ADE 2vs WSW 0 Stats
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs BRI 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 0vs BRI 1 Stats
PER 2vs NEW 0 Stats
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs CCM 1 Stats
VIC 3vs SYD 3 Stats
Wed, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 3vs MCY 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs VIC 0 Stats
PER 4vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs WEL 2 Stats
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs WSW 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs PER 1 Stats
SYD 0vs ADE 3 Stats
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3vs BRI 3 Stats
VIC 1vs NEW 0 Stats
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs WSW 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2vs MCY 5 Stats
BRI 0vs SYD 0 Stats
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs WEL 3 Stats
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 0vs CCM 0 Stats
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1vs PER 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs NEW 0 Stats
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 3vs BRI 0 Stats
CCM 2vs MCY 0 Stats
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 1vs ADE 2 Stats
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs VIC 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 7vs NEW 0 Stats
CCM 1vs SYD 5 Stats
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 3vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2vs WSW 1 Stats
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI 3vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM 2vs ADE 1 Stats
VIC 3vs MCY 0 Stats
PER 1vs SYD 3 Stats
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2vs WEL 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL 0vs MCY 0 Stats
NEW 1vs WSW 1 Stats
SYD 3vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs PER 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD 4vs CCM 2 Stats
ADE 2vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2vs NEW 2 Stats
MCY 0vs PER 0 Stats
Wed, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 1vs VIC 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY 3vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs CCM 0 Stats
WSW 3vs SYD 4 Stats
PER 2vs BRI 2 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2vs WEL 3 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs SYD 1 Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2vs ADE 0 Stats
VIC 1vs PER 1 Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs MCY 0 Stats
BRI 1vs WSW 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 0vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY 4vs NEW 0 Stats
PER 1vs WEL 2 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 5vs BRI 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs NEW 2 Stats
ADE 2vs VIC 2 Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs PER 1 Stats
BRI 1vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1vs BRI 0 Stats
PER 3vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL 0vs SYD 3 Stats
NEW 0vs ADE 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs ADE 1 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL 0vs VIC 3 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW 0vs PER 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC 0vs NEW 1 Stats
PER 0vs SYD 3 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE 2vs BRI 3 Stats
CCM 1vs WSW 0 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
MCY 0vs WEL 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL 3vs CCM 2 Stats
NEW 3vs SYD 4 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW 2vs ADE 1 Stats
BRI 0vs VIC 1 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER 3vs MCY 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 2vs NEW 1 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW 1vs PER 2 Stats
ADE 4vs MCY 1 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL 1vs SYD 2 Stats
VIC 3vs CCM 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 28
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 2vs BRI 1 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
WEL 0vs MCY 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 29
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
VIC 3vs MCY 0 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 4vs ADE 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 30
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
VIC 3vs SYD 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W L +/- Pts
Melbourne Victory 27 15 4 25 53
Sydney FC 27 14 5 17 50
Adelaide United 27 14 9 15 46
Wellington Phoenix 27 14 9 10 46
Melbourne City FC 27 9 10 -5 35
Brisbane Roar 27 10 13 -1 34
Perth Glory 27 14 5 10 50
Central Coast Mariners 27 5 14 -24 23
View all
 

HuffPost Australia

Featured advertisers