Norwich must handle the mood shift at Man United
On the face of it, the only way Norwich City's Premier League trip to Manchester United could take on a tougher complexion now is if Paul Scholes opted to come out of retirement.
Newly-installed interim boss Ryan Giggs wasted little time inviting his gifted ex-team mate to join his new-look brains trust during the immediate aftermath of David Moyes' exit.
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Norwich have experienced the turbulence and angst that accompanies the end of a fading era and the uplift from a change at the top. Neil Adams profited from a similar internal promotion when Chris Hughton was jettisoned recently and there has been an undeniable injection of energy and purpose.
City, however, have failed to add any points from improved displays at Fulham and against leaders Liverpool to extricate the club from growing danger. Norwich head to Old Trafford this weekend two points clear of third-from-bottom Fulham, but Moyes' departure and Giggs' temporary elevation transform the context of a match they must strive to take points from ahead of a trip to Chelsea and hosting Arsenal on the final day.
A toiling United under the guidance of an experienced manager seemingly unable to extract more from plentiful resources appeared to have created a growing chasm with United’s vast fan base. Yet the timing and the brutal manner of Moyes' dismissal will shock most. Giggs is a unifying force for the disparate elements inside the changing room and on the terraces.
The 40-year-old is the strongest link to an era of dominance under Sir Alex Ferguson; a one-club man who has won every honour in the club game on numerous occasions. Giggs will command instant respect both for his deeds and his presence and Adams acknowledged that fact when he briefed the media on Thursday lunchtime at his pre-match press call.
The experiment may well be an abbreviated one while the Old Trafford hierarchy look for an experienced manager to engineer a rebuilding job, but Adams and his players will know the events of the past few days in the north-west increase the degree of difficulty they face.
Norwich’s record at the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League era is wretched; one point from six trips, and they were dismissively brushed aside earlier this season in the Capital One Cup. United's regime change has denied the Canaries a chance to exploit those palpable feelings of disenchantment. They will have to do it the hard way if they stand any hope of spoiling Giggs' big day.