No panic from stalwart Giggs

The Red Devils head into Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Arsenal at Old

Trafford knowing another reverse would represent their worst run

since 2001. Judging by the in-depth inquests into their recent dip

in form, it is hard to remember it is less than six weeks ago

United were being hailed as champions elect as they ran up a

29-game unbeaten run. Yet Giggs did not get carried away then. And

he feels the key to emerging from this mini-slump is to retain the

same even-handed approach. “You try to keep a level head no matter

what is happening,” he said. “If you are on a 10-game winning

streak or have lost a couple of games, you need to keep the same

calmness and not get too carried away. “Criticism comes with the

territory. “We have had two defeats. Outside the club, people are

thinking what is wrong. The only way to stop them saying that is to

do it on the pitch. That is what we intend to do, starting

tomorrow.” It has not been the best fortnight for Giggs to

celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut, nor a record-breaking

607th league appearance. Another accolade will come his way on

Saturday when he is afforded the honour of a banner hanging from

the Stretford End, to join the one belonging to Ole Gunnar

Solskjaer and the inflammatory one that commemorates the number of

years since Manchester City last won a trophy. “It is brilliant,”

said Giggs. “It is where I used to go as a kid so to have a banner

there up with the legends who are already there will be great.” Of

far more importance though is claiming a semi-final berth, with

Giggs not reading too much into Arsenal’s midweek defeat to

Barcelona beyond the result itself. “We both have a point to

prove,” he said. “Arsenal were swept aside by Barcelona but that

can happen because they are such a good team. “At times this year

Arsenal have been brilliant. They have players who can hurt you. We

are well aware of that. “We are neck and neck in the Premier

League. Whoever wins it, it can be the platform to go on and be

successful this season.” To be successful Giggs is aware United

must perform far better than they did at Anfield on Sunday. Of his

club’s latest defeats, the Chelsea reverse can be put down to

experience, even if the reaction of manager Sir Alex Ferguson

landed him in hot water with the Football Association. What

happened on Merseyside was of much greater concern. “It has been a

week of reflection,” admitted Giggs. “We knew going into the two

games it was going to be tough for us. “Actually we were quite

happy with our performance against Chelsea, things just didn’t go

for us which can happen. “We were more disappointed with the

performance and the result at Anfield. We just didn’t turn up. We

didn’t play and we didn’t deserve to win.”