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“Blame the players, not the manager” says United legend

Ryan-GiggsRyan Giggs has come out in defence of David Moyes, claiming that the club’s poor start to the season is down to the players, rather than the manager and rejected the thought that Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure might have influenced the club.

United have lost three of their first six league games, with back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion – following a 1-0 loss at Anfield earlier in September – leaving United in 12th place as the club endured its worse start since the 1988-89 season.

However, while Giggs is happy to admit that Sir Alex’s retirement has sent shockwaves through the club, he refuses to blame United’s poor form on Fergie’s retirement and, even less so, on David Moyes.

“Sir Alex was a great manager and a great influence on the team and the club. You are going to miss someone like that,” Giggs told the Guardian. “But I don’t think that is an excuse when individuals aren’t playing as well as they can. We are not playing well as a team. We haven’t got injury problems as we have had in the past. There is no excuse.

“It hasn’t been a great start to the season but the good thing about that is we have plenty of time to turn it round. We know what this club is like, it is ups and downs and we don’t get carried away if we are flying and we don’t get carried away when we are not playing well. I can’t put my finger on what has happened. We have just not played as well as we can, both individually and as a team.”

United’s inability to strengthen adequately over the summer has come back to bite them only six games into the season, with David Moyes’ men eight points adrift of league leaders Arsenal, but Giggs believes the unpredictable nature of this Premier League season could see United claw back the gap.

“It is a weird season. City have been beaten twice. Nobody has hit the ground running who we’d have expected to. Obviously Arsenal are playing well, Tottenham and Liverpool are at the top, but there is enough time for us to turn it round and get back to the top and stay there.”

David Moyes has been under intense pressure since replacing Sir Alex, with every single one of his decisions, whether it’s his staff or his tactics, heavily scrutinised and yet Giggs remains convinced United had to overcome bigger problems during the Ferguson era.

“It’s not the most difficult season I’ve had in my career,” explained the 39-year-old. “There have been topsy-turvy seasons in the past. I have been in the team for 20-odd years and I have seen more or less everything. You would rather be showing this form at the start of the season than at the end.

“We have just got to hang in there to the turn of the year, as we always say, and then hopefully hit a bit of form like we historically do. We have to take responsibility as players and do that. The results have shown we haven’t played as well as we can do. We know the quality in the dressing room. We are the champions, so we showed that quality last year and we have to show it again.”

After coming on for Marouane Fellaini on Wednesday night against Shakthar Donetsk, Giggs overtook Raul as the record appearance holder in the Champions League, a record the Welshman is extremely proud of.

“I am obviously pleased with that record. It is the pinnacle of European football, the Champions League, and to overtake a legend like Raúl is special for me. It’s just a shame it wasn’t with a win but I think it was a professional European performance away from home. We wanted to make ourselves hard to beat and I think we did that.”

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