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Football | Barclays Premier League

Giggs eager for crunch derby test



Manchester United great Ryan Giggs says matches such as Monday's derby with City are the reason why he is is still playing football.

Giggs, in line to make his 908th appearance for United at Eastlands, has experienced planty of derby highs, and the occasional low, in his career.

But the importance of this meeting is something else as a win for City would see them replace United at the top of the Premier League table on goal difference with just two more games of the season remaining.

As someone who, as a schoolboy, trained with the Blues and then grew up in the city, Giggs is acutely aware of how important these all-Manchester battles have always been.

Now though, it is something else, right up there with the very biggest matches Giggs has appeared in throughout his long and illustrious career.

"These are the sort games which I am still involved in football for," said the 38-year-old veteran.

"They are big, title-deciding games. Apart from cup finals this is as big as you can get."

He added: "They've been saying for the last two or three years that every derby is the biggest ever.

"Obviously with three games to go and almost being neck and neck going to the finish there is no mistaking this is a massive game and the biggest in recent times," the Welsh midfielder added.

"But as a United player, you're used to big games.

"You have to block out all the hype and the predictions. That's been going on all the season anyway, with people saying City were going to win the title and then United.

"It's different for the fans. I must admit it's hard but you have to be professional and not let emotions get too far ahead of you.

"Our job is to train well and be ready to perform when kick-off comes."

United lost 6-1 to City earlier this season and have seen an eight point lead earlier this month whittled away.

"We've had reminders throughout the season where we've lost games or put in poor performances and we've always reacted. That's one of the reasons we're still up there," said Giggs.

"Hopefully, after the disappointment (of a 4-4 draw) against Everton that's the case again.

"City were on fire pre-Christmas and really we were just trying to hang on, then we've come into form over the second half of the season.

"Now it's come down to this. We're neck and neck and it's about whoever puts in the performance."

Giggs insisted United would be going all out for three points on Monday.

"We've got to try and win. Obviously if there's a few minutes to go and it's all square we won't be pushing six or seven players forward.

"But if we just try to defend all game we might come unstuck, so we'll go for it.

"I'm sure they will be fancying themselves to win because they're a good team and they're at home.

"But obviously the scenarios are more in our favour than City.

"We're Manchester United, we're the champions and we'll try and put out a statement that we deserve to win this league."

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