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Meet Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s backroom staff at Man Utd amid club’s turnaround


When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as Manchester United manager, the club was at a low ebb following the tumultuous reign of Jose Mourinho.

But the Norwegian has turned the Red Devils around, guiding them into the top four of the Premier League last season, as well as the semi-finals of the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.

He has continued that success this term, with United emerging as Manchester City ’s closest challengers in the top-flight while also being on course to reach the Europa League semi-finals again.

It is not just Solskjaer who has helped improve United’s fortunes, and here Mirror Football looks at the people who play a key part in his backroom staff.

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Mike Phelan

Mike Phelan was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first appointment
Mike Phelan was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first appointment

Solskjaer’s well-regarded assistant boss Mike Phelan also spent time as legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s number two.

When Solskjaer was appointed as caretaker, former United player Phelan was his first appointment, with the Norwegian revealing he immediately knew he would need Ferguson’s former assistant.

“I was trying to get hold of Mick Phelan because I knew I needed Mick with me,” he said. “I knew I needed Mick. I finally got hold him and he said yes. He had about 150 missed calls.”

Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick is a first-team coach at United
Michael Carrick is a first-team coach at United

Like Phelan and Solskjaer, Michael Carrick is well-known for his time as a United player, with whom he won the Premier League five times.

On his retirement, Carrick was appointed as a first-team coach, with Solskjaer retaining him on his staff, admitting the former midfielder’s differing views are valued.

“We share the same view of the game in many ways but he will definitely tell me when he thinks I am wrong, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am not asking for yes men,” he said in 2019.

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Kieran McKenna

Kieran McKenna impressed with his work with United's youngsters
Kieran McKenna impressed with his work with United’s youngsters

After having his career cut short by injury at just 23, Kieran McKenna began coaching at Tottenham, before United recruited him to take over as Under 18s boss.

His work with United’s youngsters impressed the club’s hierarchy and he was subsequently promoted to Mourinho’s staff, becoming a popular member of the staff.

Like Carrick, Solskjaer opted to keep McKenna on his staff in the position of assistant first-team coach.

Martyn Pert

Martyn Pert has a wealth of experience in English football
Martyn Pert has a wealth of experience in English football

Martyn Pert has a wealth of experience in English football, having had spells at Watford, Fulham, Coventry and Cardiff.

He was then assistant manager at Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps before Solskjaer added him to his backroom team.

Pert has since been credited for the improvements in the performances of Brazlian midfielder Fred, with Solskjaer finding his ability to speak Portuguese crucial.

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Darren Fletcher

Darren Fletcher is now technical director at United
Darren Fletcher is now technical director at United

Having made more than 350 appearances for United, West Brom and Stoke City, Darren Fletcher joined United to coach the Under 16s in October 2020.

Within a matter of months, he had been promoted to the first-team set-up, with Solskjaer praising his footballing philosophy.

He would not be a coach for long though, with the 37-year-old appointed to technical director in March and being handed responsibility for player development.

Richard Hartis

Richard Hartis was brought back to United by Solskjaer
Richard Hartis was brought back to United by Solskjaer

Richard Hartis returned to United in the summer of 2019, having previously been the club’s head of academy goalkeeping for more than 10 years until 2010.

Hartis spent time working under Solskjaer when the Norwegian was manager of Molde and Cardiff City, while he also helped England Under 17s win the 2017 World Cup.

Solskjaer then appointed him as senior goalkeeping coach ahead of his first full season as United boss, praising his track record in the game.

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Richard Hawkins

Richard Hawkins is head of human performance at United
Richard Hawkins is head of human performance at United

Richard Hawkins is currently United’s head of human performance, having been head of sports science at the FA and at West Brom.

He joined United in 2008 and is in charge of the club’s physiology testing lab, ensuring players stay at peak condition.

Ed Leng

Ed Leng is currently lead sports scientist at the Red Devils, having joined the club from Melbourne City ahead of Solskjaer’s first full season in charge.

Leng has since explained his role in more depth, revealing that he uses data to create performance plans for the players.

“We try not to be on top of players, but we want to collect data to find out what are their strengths, their weaknesses and then build individual programmes off the back of that,” he said.

Michael Clegg

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Michael Clegg is a former team-mate of Roy Keane
Michael Clegg is a former team-mate of Roy Keane

Another former player, Michael Clegg had spells at United, Ipswich Town, Wigan Athletic and Oldham Athletic before being brought to Sunderland as strength and conditioning coach by Roy Keane.

Clegg was then brought back to United as strength and power coach ahead of Solskajer’s first full season as manager.

Coincidentally, Clegg has followed in his father’s footsteps, with Mick having also worked on United’s strength and conditioning team for 11 years.





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