Van Gaal explains Giggs absence

The Welshman has been linked with a potential vacancy at Celtic, but that was not the reason for his absence as Manchester United beat Stoke on Tuesday night
Ryan Giggs’ absence from Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Stoke City at Old Trafford on Tuesday has been put down to a family illness despite rumours he is set to become the manager of Celtic.

Reports before the clash on Tuesday claimed that the Welshman was set to leave his post as United’s assistant manager to succeed Ronny Deila at Parkhead following the Scottish champions’ League Cup semi-final loss to Ross County at the weekend.

But it has emerged that Giggs missed United’s win due to a family illness and not because of an imminent departure from the club he has served as a player, coach, interim manager and now assistant manager over a period of 29 years.

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Deila is under pressure despite his side holding a six-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership. It was believed that only a domestic treble was likely to see the Norwegian retained for next season, and Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Hampden Park has thrown his position under significant scrutiny.

And Giggs’ own future is in doubt due to United’s troubles under Louis van Gaal. The club’s indifferent form this season has led to speculation about a change of manager ahead of the proposed handover from Van Gaal to Giggs in the summer of 2017. The 42-year-old is thought to be ready to leave Old Trafford if he is overlooked for the top job when it next becomes available.