Giggs expects tough encounter against Galatasaray

The veteran midfielder remembers the last time the Red Devils came up against their Turkish opponents, but believes his side are strong enough to come out on top this time around
Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs is ready for a tough encounter against Galatasary, but believes his side has enough quality to overcome the Turkish champions in their Champions League opener.

The 38-year-old featured the last time these two sides met in the second knockout round in Istanbul in 1993. The Red Devils needed a victory to go through, after a 3-3 draw in the first leg at Old Trafford, but could only achieve a goalless draw at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium.

The experienced midfielder remembers the hostile environment the team encountered when they landed in Turkey, and the aggressive nature of the fans, and expects a similar experience on Wednesday night.

"I remember it vividly. It will always stick with me," Giggs told reporters.

"I was 19 and, when we arrived at the airport, there were all the banners and fans. Thousands of fans screaming at you.

"There were things being thrown at us when we were driving away on the coach. Outside the hotel their fans were chanting all night, making sure we didn't get any sleep. People were phoning the hotel room.

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"Prior to the game, the manager told us to go on the pitch and sample the atmosphere. The fans had been in the ground for hours and hours. The atmosphere was buzzing 90 minutes before kick-off.

"We were stood in the middle of the pitch watching the fans chant. It was one stand to another.

"When we came off the pitch, it was chaos. Eric had already been sent off and the way back to the dressing room was underneath the pitch.

"There were armed police either side - not the kind of people you would ever mess with. They had helmets, batons, were all ready. And it just kicked off.

"I was just trying to get back to the safety of the dressing room as quickly as possible.

"Obviously not at the time because we lost and went out, but it was a great experience for us.

"They were a good team then and they will be a good team now."

The veteran midfielder, who made his 600th league appearance for Manchester United at the weekend, believes the team will be strong enough to come away with a good result in Turkey.

Giggs also says that new-boys Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie will be very important to the team, as Sir Alex Ferguson's side looks to banish memories of last season's disappointing European campaign.

"We need to win our home games," Giggs added. "Usually 10 or more points gets you through, which means winning at home and trying to draw away.

"We didn't manage it last year because we didn't perform at Old Trafford the way we have done in the past.

"Robin has the experience of playing in Europe with Arsenal," said the Welshman. "The goals he has got will hopefully give us that extra edge this season.

"Shinji is that kind of player who will thrive in Europe, where possession is key," continued Giggs. "He keeps the ball and gets into positions where he is hard to pick up.

"I am sure they will both be very good additions in Europe for us."