Giggs knows what to expect
Ryan Giggs admits he will never forget his first visit to Istanbul, as Manchester United gear up for another clash against Galatasaray.
Last Updated: 17/09/12 4:02pm
Ryan Giggs admits he will never forget his first visit to Istanbul, as Manchester United gear up for another clash against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League.
The Red Devils will have home advantage when they take on the Turkish side in midweek but Giggs still holds on to the memories of an away game in November 1993.
It was the second leg of a second round tie and a hostile atmosphere was generated by the Gala supporters ahead of kick-off.
"I remember it vividly. It will always stick with me," the veteran Manchester United midfielder said.
"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.
"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."
Nineteen years on, Giggs recalls it as being a brilliant experience - at least until the final whistle when United, who had Eric Cantona sent off, were knocked out, triggering a frenzied reaction from their hosts.
"When we came off the pitch, it was chaos," Giggs said.
"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."
Giggs feels it is essential for United to pick up three points at Old Trafford on Wednesday, having crashed out of the competition at the group stage last season.
"We need to win our home games," he said. "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."