Ryan Giggs admitted he can understand why Manchester United are being compared to the Liverpool team of the 1990s but insisted his teammates have the quality to prevent an unwanted repeat of their enemies’ dramatic decline after two decades of dominance.
The 40-year-old, who is the most decorated player in United’s history, starred on his return to the team as they beat Olympiakos 3-0 on Wednesday to advance to the last eight of the Champions League.
But United, who have been champions of England 13 times in 21 years, are only seventh in the Premier League after Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.
And it has prompted suggestions that they are mirroring the problems Liverpool had when, after winning 11 titles between 1973 and 1990, they dropped off and have not been champions since.
Giggs said: “You can see why people are saying that because we haven’t produced it this season on a regular basis. I know from experience what these players are capable of and a lot of them have been written off. I think there is a lot of quality within the dressing room. We showed it [against Olympiakos] and we have to show it more consistently.”
Veterans Giggs and Rio Ferdinand were brought back against the Greek champions while Danny Welbeck, who was selected ahead of Adnan Januzaj on the left wing, added speed.
And the player-coach felt it gave them a combination of attributes that many of the club’s best sides possessed.
He explained: “I think the team had a mixture of a lot of things: pace, experience, power. That’s what Man United is about and we showed that. We showed what we are capable of.”
Giggs extended his own record by making his 961st United appearance on Wednesday but he had only had 10 minutes of first-team football since January before then.
He has received plenty of praise for his performance and conceded he was disappointed he had not featured more, but said he was optimistic it will earn him more chances.
He added: “I have probably not played as much as I would like in the last few months but hopefully.”