Giggs: Remember what we did achieve
Ryan Giggs has told his devastated Manchester United team-mates not to forget it has been a season to remember.
Instead of a victory parade around Manchester, United flew home to the inevitable inquest about what went wrong in Rome last night after their 2-0 Champions League defeat to Barcelona.
To a man, the Red Devils have held up their hands to admit Barca were the better side at the Stadio Olimpico, with a clear edge in all areas.
It is not the way Giggs intended to begin his summer holidays and presents a marked contrast to the jubilation they experienced 12 months ago after beating Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out.
But, while the veteran Welshman is as crushed as anyone by the chronic failure to perform, he insists there are moments to cherish from the campaign as well.
''Great teams bounce back after big disappointments,'' he said. ''It has been a fantastic season and we must not forget that. We have achieved so much.
''All we have done is fall just short at the final hurdle in the Champions League. We are still a great team and we have great players in that dressing room. Next year we will come back stronger and look forward to the challenge.''
And the challenge is not an insignificant one.
Whereas this season history beckoned in Europe with the ultimately doomed attempt to become the first team to retain the Champions League since its inception in 1992, next year it will be at home.
Having drawn level with Liverpool on 18 league titles this term, Giggs knows one more - which would be his 12th personally - would not only allow the Old Trafford outfit to overtake their north-west rivals, it would also see them become the first side in English football to win the championship four years in a row.
''To win three Premier League titles on the trot is an unbelievable thing to do,'' said Giggs. ''Now we must look to make it four.''