Van Gaal Remains Manchester United Coach Favorite as Giggs Gains

Netherlands national team coach Louis van Gaal remains the favorite to take over at Manchester United even after the English Premier League soccer club’s interim manager Ryan Giggs oversaw a 4-0 win in his first game.

Giggs replaced the fired David Moyes last week following the defending champion’s worst-ever Premier League season, and led the squad to a defeat of Norwich at Old Trafford. Over the weekend, United denied a report in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that said van Gaal, a former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager, had agreed to take over after the World Cup in Brazil.

While Giggs’s odds with U.K. bookmakers fell after his victory, Van Gaal remains the favorite. William Hill suspended betting on the Dutchman getting the job over the weekend after the odds declined to 4-7, meaning a successful $7 bet would return $4 plus the original stake. Giggs, who is Welsh, was 14-1 before the United match, and the odds dropped to 6-1.

“Giggs had Manchester United playing as we know they can and as a reaction we have cut his odds of still being in charge next season,” William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly said in an e-mail.

Giggs declined to comment on his interest in the full-time job, saying he wanted to focus on the next match, against Sunderland May 3. There is also a home game against Hull and a visit to Southampton.

He replaced Moyes, a 51-year-old picked by former manager Alex Ferguson, after a 2-0 defeat to his former club, Everton. United lost 11 of its 34 league games under Moyes and is in seventh place, a year after winning a record 20th English title under Ferguson.

Van Gaal won league titles with Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich and led Ajax to a victory in the Champions League final.

Fan Favorite

Still, Giggs remains a favorite with supporters. He’s played a Manchester United record 962 matches, and is the only player to have scored in every season since the Premier League started in 1992-93. He’s yet to get a goal this season, having played 21 times.

Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen said Giggs would have great support among United fans should the team continue to improve and win its remaining games.

“If Ryan Giggs wins the next three matches 4-0, there will be a tidal wave of sentiment in his favor from everywhere,” the television analyst said on the British Broadcasting Corp.

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