YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE: Jonny Evans, Michael Carrick, Nani, Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia and Paul Scholes after the Blackburn game
Title King Ryan Giggs is backing Manchester United’s new generation to continue the record-breaking Reds dominance. Now a Premier League and European Cup double has been targeted as the foundation for their continued supremacy.
The 37-year-old Welshman landed his 12th league title at Blackburn on Saturday but, as ever, the celebrations will be hard but short.
Giggs was already looking to the future.
“This side can go on to more things,” he told M.E.N. Sport.
“Just like when we won the first one after 26 years in 1993, we won’t rest on our laurels and we will try and push through and extend that title lead.
“You look around the changing room at Fabio, Rafa, Chris Smalling and Chicha (Javier Hernandez). They will be at the club a long time.
“They love the club – you can see that. The way they play and their manner around the training ground it is obvious.
“This young group is all part of the manager’s way of keeping things going. He has that three tiers. Now it is me, Scholesy, Edwin and we’ve had Gary Neville, then you have the late 20s and early 30s below us and then the younger players.
“We motivate each other. We help the young players and the young players help us. You see them win their first medals and produce the football they are capable of and it is good to see.
“Definitely we want to conquer Europe now and win the Champions League at Wembley.
“We will celebrate this title because winning the league is something to enjoy. But then we will be focusing on Barcelona and winning the Champions League final.
“For a lot of us there is still that disappointment from Rome in 2009 against Barca when we felt we didn’t do ourselves justice that day.
“At the end of the season, you want to win the league and then have something else to look forward to. We have that chance in the Champions League.
“In 2009 we were beaten in Rome and it was a bad end to the season – even though we had won the league. We didn’t do ourselves justice against Barcelona last time. That was the disappointing thing. If we do ourselves justice and get beat then that happens.
“But hopefully we can play like we know we can this time around.”
Eighteen years ago Giggs was in the throes of celebrating his first-ever Premier League title after Sir Alex Ferguson delivered United their long-awaited first league crown since 1967.
He was only 19 at the time and never envisaged he’d be part of the side who he supported as a kid that would overhaul Liverpool as England’s superpower.
And Giggs says every Reds fan owes a debt of gratitude to Fergie for the 12 titles in 18 years that chipped away at the Anfielder’s all-time record before they were dislodged from the top on Saturday.
“Nineteen titles is a great achievement,” Ryan added. “When I first came into the first team doing this was never on the cards.
“As a United fan growing up and seeing Liverpool winning everything in the 70s and 80s, it was tough. They are the biggest rivals and 20 years ago to be 12 behind you didn’t see this day coming.
“But credit to the manager and credit to the club. We have clawed the lead back and overtaken them. It is a special moment for the club and obviously for the fans who grew up watching Liverpool win everything. It is more so for those fans because of what they had to put up with.
“The manager has turned things around. When he came down from Scotland that was his aim – to try and first of all win the league and then claw back the lead Liverpool had.
“He has managed to do that and every United fan should thank him for doing it.”