“I’m quite a positive person so hopefully it will help us in our league form and we have good cup runs which we didn’t this year, especially in the FA Cup,” he said. “We do well in the cups so we can get the amount of games up so everyone gets a chance – because we need to keep a squad for when we get back into Europe next year.” Having overseen two home wins and a defeat in his first three games in charge, the trip to Southampton was Giggs’ first away from Old Trafford. With captain Nemanja Vidic recalled for his last game as one of seven changes, United were sluggish in the first half and paid the price when Lambert latched onto a Steven Davis pass. The visitors were incensed as Vidic had been caught by Lambert’s elbow in the build-up but referee Mike Dean allowed the goal to stand. Mata’s leveller came nine minutes into a second half which saw United improve, with Giggs happier with his side following the interval. “I was really pleased with the second half,” he added. “Southampton had the better of the first half, we just didn’t keep possession enough and the team that I picked was for that reason. “We changed things at half-time, it was a lot better. The players were brilliant in the second half, they were on the front foot, kept possession well and there was only going to be one winner. “It (management) has been an experience – it’s been ups and downs. More ups than downs. The down was the Sunderland game. I’ve enjoyed it. I didn’t want that second half to end.” Southampton boss Pochettino has been linked with the Tottenham job in recent weeks but again refused to be drawn on the speculation, revealing he intends sit-down talks with the club’s owners on Monday. “I want to say that I still have one more year on my contract,” he said. “It is only normal that these rumours will start cropping up. We know the rules with how these things happen in England. “Tomorrow we will sit down and we will talk. This is the end of a five-year project, we have achieved what we wanted from this project and now a new project has to start. “I have said that this club now deserves to be in a new project, the board has to decide how that happens, two years, three years or four years – I just want to sit down and talk and we will see what happens.” With Giggs’ own future unclear, the Welshman once again said he has several options available to him and admitted he must be quick to make a decision with the appointment of a new manager seemingly imminent. Asked if he was any closer to knowing his immediate future, Giggs replied: “No, I’m not really. “I’ll decide within the next week. I think the managerial situation will be sorted out in the next week. (I’ll) think of my own position and decide what I am going to do. “Whether to play on or not. Whether to stay on at the staff, what position that is going to be. Whether I take a year off from football. These are the options, these are the decisions I have to make. “All the options are open to me. I’ve been quite open with you. I’ll look at everything. I might have to do it quick if a new manager is appointed.” As he entered the press room at St Mary’s to conduct his post-match media obligations, Giggs asked for the televisions showing Manchester City’s title celebrations to be turned off. Following a poor campaign and the ill-fated spell under Moyes, United finished 24 points off their city rivals and missed out on securing the final Europa League qualifying berth. That went instead to Tottenham, although Giggs reckons that could prove a blessing in disguise for the new United manager with no distractions getting in the way of a healthy domestic campaign. Press Association The 40-year-old took charge of United’s final four Barclays Premier League games of the campaign following the sacking of David Moyes, culminating in a 1-1 draw at Southampton on the final day. A second-half Juan Mata free-kick cancelled out Rickie Lambert’s opener for Saints as both sides shared the points from a typical end-of-season game, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side finishing one place below the Red Devils in eighth. Ryan Giggs believes a new Manchester United manager is likely to be announced within a week and feels a lack of European involvement for the club next season will benefit the incoming boss.
USC, Oklahoma, Michigan, Arkansas, Michigan State and our own Wisconsin Badgers. The list could go on and on of teams that have underperformed this season. Some have just not played well and others have had their road to a national title game decimated by upset losses.This story line of fallen teams has dominated our attention so far this college football season.But there have been a few emerging surprises as well. Three teams that were given little or no attention in the preseason have broken into the ranks of the top 10. Stanford, Kansas State and Notre Dame have surprised the nation with outstanding performances in the first four weeks of the season and deserve a closer look for bowl game potential.The Fighting Irish are 4-0 for the first time since 2002. The traditional powerhouse is making a comeback to the spotlight with a No. 10 AP ranking entering Week 5. What is most impressive about this start is the caliber of teams Notre Dame has already beaten. After thumping Navy in their season opener 50-10, the Fighting Irish narrowly escaped Purdue with a last- second field goal, by far their shakiest performance. The past two weeks have been a stomping on the state of Michigan, with Notre Dame beating No. 10 Michigan State on the road and handing No. 18 Michigan a 13-6 loss last weekend.Defense is where Notre Dame shines. The Irish forced six turnovers against the Wolverines Saturday, including four interceptions of Denard Robinson. The defensive line was a key contributor, but most impressive was Manti Te’o. The linebacker recorded eight tackles and two interceptions for the Fighting Irish, as his presence on the field continues to elevate the Irish defense to one of the best in the nation.Offensively is where the questions still remain. Although head coach Brian Kelly has repeatedly said there is no quarterback controversy in South Bend, the fact remains Notre Dame has two quarterbacks that are sharing time. Kelly was right to bench sophomore Everett Golson for the second half in favor of veteran Tommy Rees on Saturday.While this back-and-forth game is working for the Irish at the moment, I have doubts it will continue to be successful down the road. Kelly needs to decide on who is his man in the next few weeks because the schedule does not get any easier and the team needs consistency to get itself through it.Notre Dame has one of the toughest sets of opponents in college football this year. No. 16 Oklahoma, No. 13 USC and No. 8 Stanford are all teams the Irish will have to beat, with the Cardinal headed to South Bend in just three weeks. If the Irish can get past these teams and not stumble in other games along the way, they could very well find themselves in a BCS bowl game. I doubt this pretty of a season will happen, but it still remains a big surprise there is even a possibility.Of all teams that could ruin things for Notre Dame, the most intriguing is Stanford. Graduating Andrew Luck left a key hole in the Cardinal offense entering the season. Junior quarterback Josh Nunes is no Luck, but if you can outplay USC quarterback Matt Barkley, you’re probably doing just fine.Running back Stepfan Taylor gives the Cardinal a balanced offensive attack; he has scored a touchdown in every game for the Cardinal as their main offensive weapon. Since entering the season ranked No. 21, Stanford has seen its stock rise meteorically to No. 8, quite the surprise for a team that lost its best player to the NFL draft in the offseason.Coming off a bye week, the Cardinal will head north to play the Washington Huskies Thursday night in what should be a great Pac-12 matchup. I don’t think anyone gave this team a realistic shot at a bowl game this year without Luck, but with arguably its toughest game already a success story, why not? The Pac-12 has suddenly turned into a heated conference battle fans should be eager to watch play out.Other surprising conference battles? Look no further than the Kansas State Wildcats’ win over Oklahoma on the road.Yes, a team that was given little respect going into the season with no ranking knocked Oklahoma down. I honored head coach Bill Snyder with Coach of the Week, but as the season sits, I proclaim him Coach of the Year so far in this young season.The Wildcats finished second in the Big 12 last year, returned 18 starters and yet were ranked sixth in the conference to start the season. On a mission to prove their worth to the college football elite, they have done just that. The Wildcats slowly crept their way up the Top 25 rankings with solid performances against Missouri State, Miami (Fla.), North Texas and then struck hard with the upset over the Sooners on Saturday. Now suddenly they are the No. 7 team in the nation, causing many people to ask if this Wildcat team is the real deal.Playing in a very competitive Big 12 that is now up for anyone’s taking, Kansas State has already beaten its supposed biggest threat. If the Wildcats can beat Oklahoma on the road, there is no question the four other currently ranked teams remaining on their schedule are in for tough games.Quarterback Collin Klein leads the KSU offense and has mustered up talk as a potential Heisman candidate if his performances can continue. He is backed by a defense that forced Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones to make mistakes all night long, including two turnovers that turned into Kansas State touchdowns. Sounds like the real deal to me.With surprise and success being the theme, I must make a note about the Gophers. Hold your groans.As a Minnesotan who grew up in a home that worships the Gophers, I can’t help but be pleased to see the program improving. Don’t get me wrong, I have happily traded family tradition and converted to the superior side, cheering twice as loudly when Minnesota comes to Camp Randall. Yet after going 3-9 in 2011, Minnesota brought the Big Ten down. Second-year coach Jerry Kill has started to turn things around with a 4-0 start to the season, and with the Big Ten lacking overall strength right now, the Gophers are looking in good shape to make a run in conference play.However, the Gophers are going to do what Minnesota teams do best: Choke.In a season boasting surprisingly competitive teams, that should still prove to be a given.Happy now? Follow Caroline on Twitter
Facebook Twitter Google+ UPDATED: April 20, 2018 at 2:25 p.m.Syracuse guard Tyus Battle has declared for the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent. The news was first reported by ESPN.The latest ESPN mock draft has Battle pegged as a first-round draft choice, going 29th to Brooklyn, which has Toronto’s pick.“We fully support him throughout this process,” the team’s official account tweeted.Battle posted to Instagram that he flew home to New Jersey this weekend. His family did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment Friday afternoon.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Battle can return to school even though he has declared for the draft. He can participate in the NBA Draft Combine from May 16 to 20 and participate in one NBA team tryout. Battle has until 5 p.m. on June 11 to withdraw and return to Syracuse or leave his name in the NBA Draft.The unknown surrounding Battle’s potential departure leaves an element of unease around the program as a tumultuous offseason continues for the Orange, headlined by the late March announcement from former blue-chip commit Darius Bazley to forgo college eligibility and become the first top prospect to enter the NBA G League.Two reserve players — redshirt sophomore forward Matthew Moyer and graduate guard Braedon Bayer — announced they would transfer. Moyer, Battle’s close friend and roommate, committed to Vanderbilt while Bayer has not announced a destination yet. Battle’s position coach, Syracuse assistant Gerry McNamara, is reportedly in contention for the head coaching vacancy at Siena.If Battle returns, he will rejoin his backcourt partner point guard Frank Howard for his senior season, and sophomore forward Oshae Brissett’s decision to stay at Syracuse means the Orange would return the only three players from last year’s team who consistently scored. If he doesn’t, Syracuse will enter the summer searching for a team alpha for at least the second year in a row.Similar to Malachi Richardson in 2016, an unexpected NCAA Tournament run helped nudge Battle’s name up the draft boards. As late as the Atlantic Coast tournament-ending loss to North Carolina in early March, Battle’s name did not appear in most mock drafts. If it did, it was at the end of the second round.Then, Battle scored 15 or more points in three of his four NCAA Tournament games. After the Orange narrowly lost to Duke in the Sweet 16, one analyst said Battle might have snuck into the end of the first round with his play. NBA.com cited Battle as one of the players who helped his own stock the most in the Tournament. Now, though, only one mock draft site, Basketball Insiders, has him in the first round; the site projects Battle at No. 23 to Portland.Last season, Battle became the alpha he’d never been and transformed into the team’s most effective scorer, spearheading the one-on-one attacks a stagnant offense relied upon. He consistently bailed out the Orange late in the shot clock, and teammates, as well as Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, looked to him alone when it needed a bucket late — regardless of his performance throughout the game.Battle led the nation in minutes per game (39) while pacing Syracuse in points per game (19.2) on 39.9 percent shooting. He chipped in 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals per contest. He was selected to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference second team. Comments Published on April 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm Contact Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Sam4TR