Sydney – Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man Mike Phelan on 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 on Wednesday with ex-United striker Solskjaer until the end of the season following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.