Mike Phelan has been confirmed as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistant at Manchester United on a three-year contract.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s former No 2 returned to the club in December when Solskjaer was installed as caretaker boss, and has been in talks with United since the Norwegian was appointed on a permanent basis in March.
Phelan, 56, had been linked with the technical director’s job at Old Trafford because of his experience, but it has been decided to keep him in the dugout.
‘I am thrilled to be back as assistant manager,’ he said. ‘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 welcomed the appointment having made Phelan the first person he went to after being approached by United chief Ed Woodward six months ago.
‘Mike is a great person to have around and has been invaluable to me since we returned in December,’ said the United boss. ‘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 the future beyond.’
I’ve been a player under him – his knowledge, experience, demeanour – everyone in the club enjoys speaking to him, talking to him, discussing football with him. Players really respect him, they know what he can do and he’s worked with the best. I’m a young manager and Mick has more experience than I do in a few areas.’
Asked if Phelan’s appointment means United will soon bring in a technical director, Solskjaer added: ‘The club will announce when they feel they’ve found the right man. Until then we just work on the same structure we have now.
‘I can say for me, Mick, we’ve been involved in loads of meetings about recruiting players and how we go forward. I’m happy with the communication and the targets we’ve put up and now hopefully we can get some over the line.Advertisement
‘It’s not about me or Mick, it’s about getting the club back to where it belongs. That’s the same when I brought Mark Dempsey with me, he’s a Man United man. Michael Carrick is a Man United man. We care about the club and it’s never going to be about anything else than the club.’