Giggs grateful for timely United goals
Ryan Giggs hailed Manchester United FC's sense of timing after they put Premier League rivals Chelsea FC to the sword to earn a UEFA Champions League semi-final place.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men are renowned for their late goals, but this time there was no need as they had already struck at the perfect times to hurt a Chelsea side producing a spirited attempt to overturn their 1-0 first-leg deficit. First Javier Hernández doubled United's aggregate lead two minutes before the break and then Park Ji-Sung registered less than 60 seconds after Didier Drogba's 77th-minute equaliser, the visitors by that point playing a man short following Ramires's dismissal.
"The timing of the two goals tonight was the key really," Giggs told UEFA.com. "Scoring just before half-time knocked the stuffing out of them, although to be fair to Chelsea they came out second half, kept the ball, and put us under pressure and then scored. The timing of our second goal killed the game and they were down to ten men then."
If Chelsea came out looking for goals, United were also set up to attack – a fact underlined by Giggs's presence in central midfield alongside Michael Carrick. The Welshman said it made for an exciting, open match. "Chelsea went for it; they put us under pressure. Obviously they needed to score goals and it made it a great game. We were going to go out and attack and Chelsea did as well so it was quite open. It was similar to a Premiership game where each side attacks; it was great to play in."
Sir Alex Ferguson lavished praise afterwards on the "incredible" 37-year-old, who added to his assist for Wayne Rooney's first-leg winner by setting up both goals, first with a burst into the box and low cross which Hernández buried at the far post and then with the pass that released Park to drive home United's second. Giggs was modest about his contribution, saying: "I am enjoying it. I was fortunate to make the two goals tonight and I am in the position where I put it in the right areas. You've got players like Hernández who are just born goalscorers and they are going to be there."
Rio Ferdinand concurred with Giggs's assessment of Hernández, saying that the 22-year-old was "doing things that other strikers are learning at about 27, 28, when they are seasoned professionals. He has just come to the club but is learning every day and is doing textbook stuff. He is running across the front post all the time to score goals and it is great to see. He is always following up. He was on the back post [for his goal] after scoring a goal that was disallowed – he has moved positions, gone to the back post and got his rewards."
The defender also praised United's match-winner on the night, the "unsung hero" Park. Ferdinand said of the South Korean international: "In the big games, he scores goals. The manager seems to pick him a lot of the time in the big games and he always delivers. He is somebody who doesn't get all the headlines but is appreciated by his team-mates fully."