Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man Mike Phelan Thursday said he remained committed to Australia’s Central Coast Mariners despite being appointed first-team coach at Old Trafford alongside caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Phelan is sporting director of the A-League side — the club that handed an unsuccessful trial to sprint king Usain Bolt — and vowed to be back “as soon as I can”.
“Taking on a temporary coaching role at Manchester United is extremely exciting,” he said on the club’s website, but added that he was “still a Mariner”.
“I’ve put something in place that I want to see through. This might be a small distraction, but it’s with one of the biggest clubs in the world that I simply couldn’t turn down,” he said.
“Part of the discussion with Manchester United was that I will still be available for the Mariners, this is a dual role. I’m not going anywhere, I am one phone call away from anyone at the Mariners.”
Phelan, a former United player, worked as first team coach and then assistant manager with Ferguson for more than a decade.
He left Old Trafford when the Scottish legend retired in 2013 and was first team coach at Norwich from 2014-15 before managing Hull City from 2016 until departing in January 2017.
Phelan said “there’s obviously a few issues to sort through at Manchester United which will take time”, but didn’t go into details.
He will work alongside Michael Carrick after being appointed Wednesday with ex-United striker Solskjaer until the end of the season following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Cillian Cunningham)