Sir Alex hailed the 'unique' Ryan Giggs

ALEX FERGUSON hailed the 'unique' Ryan Giggs after the Welsh wonder helped Manchester United into the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Giggs set up all three of United's goals over the two legs of this last-eight tie against Chelsea.

At 37, he is playing as well as ever. And after this 3-1 aggregate win, Fergie said: "It's been said so many times about the man, he's incredible, a unique person and player.

"His contribution is big because of the goal in the first game, and the part he played in the goals in this game.

"He's lucky in the sense that he's got the physique - he's never carried any weight - and he's got fantastic balance. That's always been his asset. And he looks after himself.

"To play at 37 requires tremendous sacrifice. His experience and composure were vital. But the whole team deserve great credit."

U2 this week recorded the highest-grossing tour in history. But the smart money is on Wembley Stadium rocking to the tune of United's own brand of ground-breaking, lucrative Giggs on May 28.

He is now aiming for his fourth Champions League final as the Red Devils look set to face unfancied German outfit Schalke in the semis.

After setting up Wayne Rooney for the only goal in the first leg, Giggs provided the assist for Javier Hernandez to double the aggregate score here on 43 minutes.

Chelsea's Ramires was sent off for two bookings before Didier Drogba pulled one back.

But the nerves were not jangling for long as Ji-Sung Park restored the lead just 21 SECONDS later.

He said: "Chelsea gave us a great game but it's always pleasing to get through to the semis.

"We expected them to come at us because they needed to score, but we needed to score to take the pressure off us because away goals could have come into play.

"I thought we were the better side over two legs.

"We stuck to the gameplan down there and even though Chelsea scored here we got two great goals. Us scoring so quickly after they scored knocked the stuffing out of them.

"They were down to 10 men as well so we were able to see the game out."

Giggs sees similarities between this season and the Treble-winning 1999, when the games came thick and fast - and the glory too.

He said: "Confidence is high, we're getting players back and that's what you want for the run-in.

"We've got games every three days now but the manager will chop and change and I'm sure he'll do it again on Saturday. We've got 20 players competing for 11 places."

Once again Carlo Ancelotti started with struggling £50million signing Fernando Torres, who has now failed to score in 11 games.

Ferguson believes the price tag meant Ancelotti had to start him again last night.

Ferguson said: "I thought that, having signed Torres for the money they did, they had to play him.

"I wasn't 100 per cent sure but I couldn't see how they could leave Torres out.

"Everyone said at the time it was a fantastic piece of business. You can't criticise him for that. He's a good signing. It's not working at the moment, but he's a young man with other seasons ahead.

"Torres has played against us quite a few times and had a little golden spell against us, but if you look at the number of games he's played against us, we've actually done all right against him.

"Nemanja and Ferdinand, with their experience, should be able to handle the best players in the world."

Torres was taken off at half-time and replaced by Drogba.

And Ancelotti denied he is forced to start him because of how much he cost. He said: "This is not true. I put Fernando in because he has skills and ability that could be good for us.

"We have to believe in him, we have to wait until he improves.

"At half-time I wanted to put more pressure upfront. We needed to score.

"Didier was fresh and could use his power in front. This was the reason I took off Fernando. Didier played very well in the second half."

Ancelotti's own position is under threat now owner Roman Abramovich's dream of winning the Champions League has still not been realised.

Yet the Italian said: "I'm not concerned. It's not my decision whether I stay here or not. I haven't spoken with the owner. It will be difficult but we need to quickly move on from this defeat, this disappointment, and on to the next game."

Advertisement
Advertisement