OLD TRAFFORD, Manchester — It was billed as the beginning of another new era at Manchester United.
It was a second inside 11 months after the false start under David Moyes. There is even likely to be a third in the coming weeks when the board decides on a new permanent boss.
But despite the fresh start under interim manager Ryan Giggs, there was familiarity all around.
On his first visit to the touchline after just a few minutes, Giggs even pointed to his watch. Sir Alex Ferguson, sitting in the director's box, would have been proud.
There was even a reminder of Moyes' time in charge as a plane flew over Old Trafford. It carried the message "Thank U Moyes." It was, of course, sarcastic.
Giggs' appointment has lifted the mood at Old Trafford.
As he walked out onto the pitch in his club suit, the fans started singing "Ryan Giggs' red and white army." It was a reception Giggs said afterward made him feel "10 feet tall."
It may only be his team for four games. But judging by the orders he was barking out at his players during the opening exchanges against Norwich, he's determined to make an impression.
It started with his team selection.
Instead, Giggs went with what he knew. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were paired at the back. Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, two academy graduates just like Giggs, were also included.
It might have been a conscious effort to turn away from what Moyes left behind. It might just have been coincidence.
But it was Welbeck who won the penalty for Wayne Rooney to open the scoring in the first half. It also helped to settle a few nerves, as Norwich threatened to spoil the party.
It was as close as the visitors got.
Rooney scored again after half-time before Mata, on as a substitute, scored twice, making it 4-0. United might have had five if Javier Hernandez hadn't squandered a golden chance toward the end.
It would have given United their biggest home win of the season. But it wasn't to be.
In his press conference on Friday, Giggs promised to put the smile back on the fans' faces. And as he walked down the tunnel at full time, he can't have failed to notice he had done just that.
And that, for now, is as far as Giggs' brief goes.
He has been charged with steadying the ship after a turbulent week and will try to win a few games while he's at it.
He couldn't have asked for a better start.
Quotes obtained firsthand.
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