Mike Phelan thanks supporters after winning Old Trafford return as Manchester United assistant

by Leo Nieboer

Mike Phelan took to social media to thank supporters for their raucous support throughout his first game back at Old Trafford as Manchester United assistant manager on Boxing Day.

The 56-year-old, who spent five years as Sir Alex Ferguson‘s assistant between 2008 and 2013, returned to the club last week as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s right hand man following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho.

And after overseeing a thumping 5-1 win at Cardiff City, Phelan enjoyed the perfect return to Old Trafford on Boxing Day as Man United, spearheaded by the rejuvenated Paul Pogba, ran out 3-1 winners over Huddersfield Town.

Phelan took to Twitter after the game – surely the man deserves a verified tick? – with a video which underlined the noisy reception United’s new managerial team received.

Old Trafford was smiling yesterday. Too often over the last few years have these games descended into a collective anxiety, with fans and players alike unsure over where a goal would come from, but there was none of that on Boxing Day.

United played with intensity and precision, pinning Huddersfield back and scoring three good goals, controlling the game for all but ten minutes, during which David de Gea – captain for the day – made a save Solskjaer described as “possibly the best” he’d ever seen. In the crowd, chants of ‘Ole, Ole, Ole’ echoed around the ground with a tone of celebration, of enjoyment.

With the result in the bag, Solskjaer, Phelan and Michael Carrick were all, one by one, asked by the Stretford End to give them a wave. Solskjaer did. Phelan pumped his fists in the air. Carrick waved, paving the way for a rendition of his chant, which reverberated around Old Trafford, swelling into a chorus of adulation for not just Carrick, but indeed the new regime as a whole. ‘Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!’

The days of Jose Mourinho certainly felt like a long way away.

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