Winning start for interim Man U manager Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs knows managing Manchester United isn’t always so easy.
After a sleepless night before his managerial debut, Giggs saw the team under his temporary control reawaken Old Trafford with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Norwich on Saturday. It came at the end a tumultuous week that started with David Moyes’ dismissal after just 10 months, having taken a team that won the league by 11 points under Alex Ferguson last May down to seventh in the English Premier League.
In Spain, Real Madrid remains in the title chase after routing Osasuna 4-0 to provisionally close the gap on leader Atletico Madrid to three points.
The 40-year-old Giggs, who dropped himself from the match-day squad, is likely to have just three more games as player-manager. Although there could be a clamor for Giggs to stay in charge, United plans to appoint a more experienced, proven trophy winner, with outgoing Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal is the favorite for the job.
United asserted itself over Norwich after a tedious start, with Wayne Rooney scoring twice – the first from the penalty spot – and Juan Mata also netted a brace after coming off the bench to complete a 4-0 win over Norwich.
However uplifting this rout was for disgruntled fans, it came against a relegation-threatened team with the worst away record in the league. A seventh straight loss left Norwich just a point and a place above the relegation zone.
Swansea virtually secured topflight survival and West Bromwich Albion moved closer to safety. Swansea cruised to a 4-1 win over Aston Villa, which is just four points and two places from the drop zone. West Brom’s 1-0 victory over West Ham 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 with a 1-0 win at Stoke, meaning that Manchester United could even miss out on Europa League qualification.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two long-range goals in Real Madrid’s 4-0 rout of Osasuna while resting several first-choice players for its Champions League semifinal second leg at Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Barcelona, which is a point behind Madrid, is at Villarreal on Sunday, with build-up to the game overshadowed by the death of former Barca coach Tito Vilanova on Friday at the age of 45 following a battle with throat cancer.
Munich warmed up for its Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid with a 5-2 win over Werder Bremen.
Bayern, which has already defended the Bundesliga title, trailed twice but scored three goals in a seven-minute span in the second half to put the match away. Franck Ribery scored and played a role in two other goals as his form finally improved ahead of Tuesday’s match against Madrid, which holds a 1-0 lead from the home leg.
Claudio Pizarro scored twice for Bayern against his former club.
Bayer Leverkusen drew 2-2 at home with Borussia Dortmund and failed to consolidate a Champions League qualification spot. Leverkusen is only one point ahead of Wolfsburg. Dortmund remained second and is sure to play in the Champions League next season.
Napoli is yet to secure Serie A’s third Champions League qualification spot after being held to an entertaining 0-0 draw at Inter Milan.
With three rounds remaining, Napoli is eight points in front of Fiorentina, which beat relegation-threatened Bologna 3-0 to keep alive its faint hopes of finishing third.
Dimitar Berbatov scored twice to help Monaco win 4-1 at Ajaccio and delay Paris Saint-Germain’s title celebrations for at least a day.
Monaco moved provisionally seven points behind PSG, which will seal back-to-back titles if it wins at relegation-threatened Sochaux on Sunday.