Giggs a win­ner in new gig

Trades jersey for suit and tie, leads Man U to home vic­tory

SundayXtra - - SPORTS SOCCER - By Rob Har­ris

MANCH­ESTER, Eng­land — Af­ter a sleep­less night be­fore his man­age­rial de­but, Ryan Giggs saw his Manch­ester United team reawaken Old Traf­ford with a com­fort­able vic­tory over Nor­wich on Satur­day to end a tu­mul­tuous week that started with David Moyes’ dis­missal.

United as­serted it­self over Nor­wich af­ter a te­dious start, with Wayne Rooney scor­ing twice — the first from the penalty spot — and Juan Mata also netting a brace af­ter com­ing off the bench to com­plete a 4-0 win in the English Pre­mier League.

“I should re­tire now, a 100 per cent record,” Giggs quipped.

The 40-year- old mid­fielder, who dropped him­self from the match-day squad, is likely to have just three more games as player-man­ager, with United look­ing to ap­point a more ex­pe­ri­enced suc­ces­sor to Moyes.

“The re­cep­tion was great. I’ve walked out of the tun­nel so many times in big games. That’s the best feel­ing I’ve had, I felt so proud,” Giggs said. “Did I sleep last night? No.”

It was a day all about restor­ing pride af­ter Moyes in­her­ited a team that won the league by 11 points un­der Alex Fer­gu­son last May and took it down to sev­enth in the standings.

But while United is frus­trated to be out of the four Cham­pi­ons League places, Nor­wich’s po­si­tion is far more pre­car­i­ous — fight­ing against rel­e­ga­tion. A sev­enth straight loss left the team just a point and a place above the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Swansea vir­tu­ally se­cured Pre­mier League sur­vival and West Bromwich Al­bion moved closer to safety on Satur­day.

Jonjo Shelvey scored an eye­catch­ing vol­ley in a 4-1 vic­tory for 12th-place Swansea over As­ton Villa, which is just four points and two places from the drop zone. Saido Ber­ahino gave West Brom a 1- 0 vic­tory over West Ham that took the team five points clear of dan­ger.

But Ful­ham threw away a two-goal lead at home to Hull to draw 2-2 and re­main in the drop zone.

At the top of the standings, Ever­ton’s hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the Cham­pi­ons League were hit by a 2- 0 loss at Southamp­ton which kept the vis­i­tors in fifth place. Tot­ten­ham closed the gap on Ever­ton to three points af­ter Danny Rose clinched a 1- 0 win at Stoke, mean­ing that Manch­ester United could even miss out on Europa League qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Al­though the rev­enue streams could be hit, a sea­son out of Europe could help the re­build­ing process which it seems Giggs won’t be over­see­ing as man­ager, how­ever much he im­presses dur­ing his four-game stint as in­terim man­ager.

“We’ve had a tough week and there’s been a lot of neg­a­tiv­ity to­wards us as a team,” Rooney said. “We were hurt by that and we wanted to put that right. It’s im­por­tant for us to end the sea­son well.”

The break­through against Nor­wich came af­ter Steven Whit­taker brought down Danny Wel­beck, and Wel­beck scored from the penalty spot in the 41st.

The striker was on tar­get again in­side three min­utes of the sec­ond half, drift­ing in from the left un­chal­lenged be­fore un­leash­ing a shot into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

United was cruis­ing, and the mag­ni­tude of the vic­tory was even more con­vinc­ing af­ter Mata made an im­me­di­ate im­pact af­ter com­ing off the bench on the hour.

The Spain mid­fielder scored in­side three min­utes, af­ter meet­ing a cross from Phil Jones. Mata nod­ded an­other over the line in the 73rd af­ter be­ing set up by An­to­nio Va­len­cia.

“I’m in­terim man­ager but I’m also one of their team­mates, so it was tough to leave them out, but you’ve seen the re­sponse of Juan,” Giggs said. “That’s a true pro­fes­sional, to not moan and not sulk and come on and per­form like he did.”

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

JON SU­PER / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Manch­ester United’s Juan Mata (left) cel­e­brates with team­mate Ash­ley Young af­ter scor­ing his sec­ond goal against Nor­wich City at Old Traf­ford Satur­day.

JON SU­PER / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Re­splen­dent in suit and tie, Manch­ester United’s in­terim man­ager Ryan Giggs watches his team’s 4- 0 win over Nor­wich City.

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