Manchester United start life under Giggs by thrashing Norwich
Monday, 28 April 2014 00:00
REUTERS: Manchester United ushered in a new era under interim manager Ryan Giggs with a 4-0 Premier League win over Norwich City on Saturday full of the verve and attacking intent often absent under the sacked David Moyes.
The wheels came off Everton’s charge for Champions League qualification in a 2-0 defeat at Southampton that left them a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal before United turned on the style to cheer Welshman Giggs in his unfamiliar new role.
A penalty and a superb curler from Wayne Rooney plus two close-range efforts from substitute Juan Mata were enough to see off a poor Norwich side and keep United seventh in the table, six points behind Tottenham Hotspur who won 1-0 at Stoke City.
Norwich are now just one point clear of 18th-placed Fulham, who were pegged back to 2-2 by visitors Hull City after Ashkan Dejagah scored a fantastic opener as the Londoners took a two-goal lead.
The best goal of the day, however, was scored by Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey, who volleyed in from the centre circle in a 4-1 win over struggling Aston Villa, who are four points above Fulham.
West Bromwich Albion took a huge step towards safety with a nervy 1-0 home win over West Ham United thanks to Saido Berahino’s 11th-minute goal that moved them five points clear of danger.
At Old Trafford, United winger Giggs was given a hero’s welcome as he strode out from the tunnel in charge of the team, his presence offering frustrated fans hope for the future.
His starting selection was telling as he jettisoned Moyes signing Marouane Fellaini from the matchday squad and dropped Mata, another big-money Moyes acquisition, to the bench.
The optimism of the fans looked misplaced as United struggled to break Norwich down in the early exchanges with many familiar failings from the Moyes regime surfacing.
But once Rooney had fired them ahead from the penalty spot, after Danny Welbeck was hauled down four minutes before halftime, they never looked back.
Rooney drove powerfully in from the right and curled home a fantastic finish to double the lead three minutes after the break before Mata came off the bench and took his turn to shine.
He steered in Phil Jones’s excellent cross from the right in the 64th and then nudged in Antonio Valencia’s shot back across goal to make it 4-0 with 17 minutes remaining.
“For me it is a pleasure to play under this manager,” Mata told Sky Sports. “When I was a kid I remember him playing and he is a proper Manchester United person.
“But the decision (of who the next manager is) is not down to us and we have to enjoy him being in charge.”