Mike Phelan has offered his assessment of Erik ten Hag’s tenure as Manchester United manager in an interview with Sky Sports.
The former United coach praised the “difference” the Dutchman and his coaching staff have produced: “They are changing lot of things and changing them quickly. There is a definite difference in standards, you can see that.”
United finished 3rd last year, returning to the Champions League. They won their first trophy in six seasons, beating Newcastle 2-0 in the Carabao Cup final.
United also reached the FA Cup final which, despite a disappointing loss, demonstrated the team’s improved ability in cup competitions.
Phelan recognises it has not been smooth sailing this season however. “It’s been a little bit up and down at the start of the season but that happens,” the former coach contends.
The pressure of being at the helm at Old Trafford is unlike any other job in England. Phelan knows this better than most.
“It’s Manchester United – you lose one game, you can call it a blip. You lose two or three in a row? It’s probably a crisis. Having lived it, I understand what he’s going through.
There is a story about Manchester United every day, all different mediums now to find a story. There’s a lot of work to do but he’s trying, he’s finding ways to find his feet still. But they need results.”
Phelan acknowledges United have “spent a lot of money” under Ten Hag, but investment is futile without the benefit of time: “…he needs time, everyone needs time to put their mark on things.”
Ultimately Phelan believes the situation is moving in the right direction.
With the integration of the club’s newest additions, and the continued improvement in standards, Phelan contends “they can progress and make bigger strides.”
United fans will be hoping Sir Alex’s former right-hand man’s words come to fruition sooner rather than later.