The 59-year-old coach returned to Old Trafford alongside Solskjaer in 2019 having worked closely with Sir Alex Ferguson prior to the Scot’s retirement.
Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Stance Confirmed as Assistant Signs New Deal
Phelan’s Service to the Club
Since appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as interim manager, Manchester United have looked to bring back the identity of old. Phelan, Solskjaer’s confidant, is integral to that, having played under and coached alongside Sir Alex Ferguson.
Phelan joined from Norwich City as a player in 1989, going on to make 146 appearances, scoring three goals. As a player, he helped the club to a Premier League title in 1993, also winning the FA Cup, League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup.
Having gained experience as an assistant with Norwich, Blackpool and Stockport County in the mid-to-late-90s, Phelan worked with the Manchester United reserves before taking up a role on Fergie’s bench.
Phelan is a popular figure at Old Trafford and his wealth of experience has no doubt helped Solskjaer in his reign at United, which is approaching three years.
Phelan Extension Shows Manchester United Stance in Backing Solskjaer
Such is the expectation at the Theatre of Dreams, with Manchester United sat in fourth place, just two points off the top, there are question marks about the club’s start to the season.
The first disappointment, a 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary’s, saw United play poorly and fail to take advantage of a period of success after the equaliser, the game became a stale, frustrating draw for the Red Devils.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo‘s arrival, much like Edinson Cavani in 2020, United, with both, had enough firepower to score plenty of goals, and he has shown that. However, Manchester United’s midfield has not been good enough and has often caused problems.
An embarrassing 2-1 loss to Young Boys in the Champions League, elimination from the Carabao Cup and a momentum-busting draw with Everton at Old Trafford later, and there are reasons to be concerned.
Manchester United are struggling to impress on the pitch, even when they win – as particularly shown in the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, where the home side were poor in front of goal.
There were fair enough excuses in two of those games at least and Manchester United are not panicking, nor would they ever.
The decision to extend the contract of Solskjaer’s trusted sidekick is a message of faith in the Norwegian, one there is still no doubt he must repay with results.
United took their time before making the final decision on David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho‘s futures at the club. There’s no reason for them to change that method now – especially with a club legend at the helm.
Tough Run Approaching but Solskjaer Has Always Got it Right When it Matters
It’s not getting any easier over the coming month for Solskjaer’s side. They face a trip to Leicester City‘s King Power Stadium following the international break, before hosting Atalanta in the Champions League on October 20, 2021.
Only time will tell if this move is that of a dreaded vote of confidence. Though time and time again over his three-year reign, Solskjaer has found himself under a touch of pressure, so far, he has always come out of it, and come out of it as strong as ever.
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