Saturday 17 August 2019

Mike Phelan handed three-year deal to remain at Man United with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Mike Phelan has been appointed as Manchester United’s permanent assistant manager (Martin Rickett/PA).
Mike Phelan has been appointed as Manchester United’s permanent assistant manager (Martin Rickett/PA).
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Mike Phelan has been appointed Manchester United's permanent assistant manager on a three-year contract, the club have announced.

Phelan, who served as Sir Alex Ferguson's number two at United before departing shortly after the Scot in 2013, returned to the club alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December last year.

The pair came in on a deal until the end of the season, but Solskjaer was named the permanent successor to Jose Mourinho in March, and now Phelan has followed the Norwegian in committing to the club where he made more than 100 appearances between 1989 and 1994.

"I am thrilled to be back as assistant manager," Phelan said.

Phelan had been linked with the technical director post that will be introduced from this summer but opted to remain alongside Solskjaer as part of the coaching staff in the dugout.

The 56-year-old added: "Manchester United has been a huge part of my life since I joined as a player in 1989 and I am delighted to be able to continue that relationship in this key role.

"Since returning in December, I have enjoyed working with Ole, Michael (Carrick), Kieran (McKenna), Mark (Dempsey) and Emilio (Alvarez) and we are all focused on preparing for the new season."

Solskjaer added: "Mike is a great person to have around and has been invaluable to me since we returned in December.

"He brings a wealth of experience to this role with a long established connection to the club.

"We have a good group of coaching staff and we are already working on the challenges that lie ahead of us as we plan for the new season and beyond."

Solskjaer admitted ahead of United's season-ending fixture against Cardiff this weekend that it would be "miraculous" if they were challenging for the title in the next campaign.

United are guaranteed to miss out on a top-four Premier League finish, regardless of their result against the Bluebirds, and Solskjaer admitted they have a lot of catching up to do.

He said: "Challenging for the title next year would be a miraculous season because we are so far behind at the moment, points-wise.

"Next season, we've got to close that gap. If we manage to get to February or March and being close then that's fantastic."

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