Ryan Giggs is looking forward to seeing Manchester United back in the Champions League after a frustrating year of watching the biggest tournament in club football from his sofa.
Giggs became used to tasting success at Europe’s top table during his playing career.
The Welshman reached four finals under Ferguson and lifted the famous big trophy on two occasions – in 1999 and 2008.
But last year, during his first since retirement, the 41-year-old was made to watch the action unfold on television after United finished seventh under David Moyes.
Providing they get through a play-off tie later this month, those famous European nights will be back at Old Trafford next season. And Giggs cannot wait for United to be part of the action again.
“It wasn’t nice last year watching your rivals play in the Champions League,” United’s assistant manager told Press Association Sport.
“We want to be in the Champions League. Manchester United are used to that and it was a massive void last year not being in it, so this year it’s good to be back in the mix.”
Giggs is not getting ahead of himself yet, though.
He knows the name of a difficult opponent could be pulled out of the hat when the play-off draw is made at 11am on Friday.
United could draw Lazio, Monaco, CSKA Moscow, Club Brugge or Rapid Vienna.
The latter two may seem easy opposition in some people’s eyes, but Giggs is well aware that Brugge knocked out Panathinaikos and Rapid Vienna defeated Ajax in the third qualifying round this week.
“There are no mugs in it at this stage,” said Giggs, the McDonald’s Head of Welsh Football who is urging people to submit their best goal celebrations using £CelebrateBetter.
“You look at Monaco, they did well last year, they are strong, but even the likes of Vienna and Brugge too – they all had good results in the qualifying stages.
“It will be difficult for us, especially with it being early on in the season, but we are ready for it.”
United will no longer be able to count on Angel di Maria after he completed his £44.3million move to Paris St Germain on Thursday.
After a woeful and unsettling year at United, Di Maria is hoping for a fresh start in the French capital.
“Things did not turn out well for me at Manchester United for many reasons, but that is the past,” said Di Maria, whose Cheshire home was the subject of an attempted burglary in February.
“I have been in Paris for two days and I am delighted because I know my wife and my daughter will be happy here.”