NOW back at Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s assistant, Mike Phelan believes Paul Pogba is benefiting from having a manager ready to build the team around his needs.
The Frenchman endured a tough spell under former United boss Jose Mourinho, but took to Solskjaer’s methods very well.
Getty – Contributor With nine goals and 11 assists, this league campaign has comfortably been Pogba’s most fruitful since returning to Old Trafford
With four goals in his first three games under the Norwegian manager, Pogba embodied the newfound confidence the Red Devils played with after the change in coach.
And Phelan reckons that “quite a few players” suffered from low morale in the final weeks of Mourinho’s tenure, adding that the team became “very cautious”.
“Paul had a spell where all the eyes were on him and delivery of his best wasn’t there all the time, the consistency,” Phelan said in an interview with Reuters.
“Now we are trying to apply ourselves to Paul’s game.
“Ole has done a terrific job at helping Paul through certain spells and he has embraced that. He is maturing all the time.
PA:Press Association Phelan has added a wealth of experience to Solskjaer’s backroom team of Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna
EPA Ferguson trusted the his old player as his right-hand man for five years
“He is not the finished deal, even though everyone looks at him and sees a World Cup winner already, but he is not the finished deal.
“There is still a lot more to come and that is the exciting bit about United.
“There are players there who haven’t achieved for the club what they need to achieve, and we want to make sure that they relish that experience [and] embrace the opportunity to win things at Manchester United.”
TIME TO REFLECT
A hero on the Old Trafford pitch in the early 1990s, Phelan spent almost 15 years as part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff before leaving in 2013.
Spells at Norwich City, another key club from his playing days, Hull and Australian team Central Coast Mariners were key to the Lancashire-born former midfielder developing his understanding of the game.
“I had a time of reflection,” explained the 56-year-old.
“I felt that I needed to look back and examine the processes that were in place.
“Because you just don’t get the time when you are actually ‘in it’.
“What I found was that the simplicity in most things tends to be the most effective.
“We are all looking for the secret ingredient but when you start to talk to people at the elite level, the top end, you find they do the simple things better than most people.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mike Phelan spotted at the Camp Nou ahead of Barca’s tie with Manchester United