Giggs reveals United turning point
© AFP

If Manchester United win the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Ryan Giggs will think back to a defeat against Benfica that he believes inspired his side's resurgence.

When United lost 2-1 at Benfica in 2005 to finish bottom of their Champions League group it was seen as the end of an era for Sir Alex Ferguson's team.

But the pain of that embarrassing exit was gradually erased as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney fulfilled their potential.

Giggs believes the pain of losing in Lisbon spurred them on to make United great again. He had experienced a similar feeling a decade earlier when United surrendered the title to Leeds in 1992 and responded by helping United win the their first title in 26 years.

"Maybe people on the outside looked at us and said this could be the end of an era but I never thought so," Giggs said. "Sometimes a disappointment like that can help you and that might have been the case with Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

"I certainly felt that way about Leeds winning the championship. There was an added pressure but I also remember going away that summer thinking 'I don't want to feel like this again'.

"Fans were coming up to me saying 'are we ever going to win the league'? It was horrible. But you need that determination to succeed. It is just a question of where it comes from."

Giggs will break Sir Bobby Charlton's United appearance record if he plays against Chelsea in Moscow, but the Wales winger is more than happy to give the spotlight to Paul Scholes.

United midfielder Scholes is set to start his first Champions League final after missing the victory over Bayern Munich in 1999 through suspension.

"I don't think it has ever affected him playing-wise because after 1999 he always had a belief we would get there again," Giggs said. "But I do know how acutely disappointed Paul was at missing out in Barcelona and I felt it was right he did get to play in one of these games.

"As a supporter of football, you want to see someone with that kind of ability play on the biggest stage.

"It would have been sad for Paul not to play in a Champions League Final. He is genuinely one of the best players in the world."