Giggs: Man United squad has spirit of 1999

May 16, 2008

Ryan Giggs can see major similarities between Manchester United's 1999 Euro kings and the 2008 hopefuls.

After securing his 10th league title at the weekend, Giggs will be an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad for the showdown with Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium on May 21.

And, while the faces, with the exception of his own, may be different, Giggs is getting a similar vibe.

'There are similarities to 1999,' he said.

'The team spirit is the same and there is a good balance within the squad.

'The enthusiasm the young players have shown this season is great for the older ones like me and Paul Scholes, while we give experience to the younger ones.

'We had a great squad in 1999, which the manager used throughout the season.

'It is the same again this year. It is about the squad, not 11 players, just as it was then, so there are similarities.'

One of the other major similarities is their durability. In 1999, United famously came through a campaign that included double-headers with Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus, plus two group clashes and the never-to-be-forgotten final with Bayern Munich.

This time, United have played Roma four times, as well as Lyon and Barcelona before getting to Chelsea, so Giggs is reluctant to concede it is harder or easier than it once was.

'It was tough to win it then but it is equally so now,' he said.

'You have to be physically and mentally strong all the way through and retain your consistency. If you get to the final you deserve it.'

Giggs does not believe Chelsea have gained a vital edge through their victory over United three weeks ago.

Instead, the Welshman prefers to think about the way his side responded to being behind at the interval rather than reflect on a dismal first-half display.

'We did really well in the second half,' he said.

'I would like to think we came out of that quite positively.'

As he did at Stamford Bridge, Giggs is likely to be used as an impact player from the bench in Moscow.

Not so fellow veteran Scholes, who has already been assured of his starting spot by Ferguson - a move Giggs is in full agreement with.

'I am not picking the manager's team but Paul deserves to play because he is a great player,' he said.

'He can do things other players cannot do and his recent form has been brilliant.

'Obviously his disappointment in 1999, after being such a big part of that season as well, was massive. He has another chance now.'