I’ve always overlooked the importance of the assistant manager in football, and what influence they have on our club as a whole. Manchester United fans nowadays seem to be more open to having the likes of ex-assistants Steve McClaren or Carlos Queiroz back at the club, instead of assistant since 2008, Mike Phelan.
I agree it’s important to have a good coaching staff, I’ve just never analysed the staff we have now individually. I personally think Phelan’s doing a good job; Fergie trusts him and seems happy for him to take training sessions and stand on the touchline during most games. Rene Meulensteen and himself form a good threesome with the manager, and with the likes of Scholesy on the staff, and people like Neil Hough, Rob Swire, Paul McGuiness, Brian McClair, Eric Steele etc, United have a foundation of staff that have been together a long time, in once capacity or another.
There’s no doubt the assistant must have an influence of some sort, Brian Kidd was assistant during a very successful period, and Steve McClaren came in and built on that. Carlos Queiroz seemed to be the fans and the players favourite during his time here. He had the players respect and took the training sessions very differently to anyone else previously. United slumped during his time away at Real Madrid, and upon his return the success started again. He also had a big hand in a number of players arriving at Old Trafford, Nani & Cristiano Ronaldo particularly.
I don’t have an issue with Mike Phelan being our assistant manager, he seems to have a lot of respect for the players but may not have that influence of persona that Queiroz took with him. However, if he’s good enough for the boss, he should be good enough for the supporters. Chopping and changing doesn’t help, Phelan’s been in the job a few years now and seems to have slotted seamlessly into the role. I don’t think we can underestimate the role, but I don’t think we should overestimate it either. I don’t believe there’s a constant correlation between a good assistant and success, otherwise what’s the point of having the main man sat up there too?
Everyone will have their preference, but I don’t think Mike Phelan should be questioned. The man has done a great job so far and I’m sure he’ll continue to do so.
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