Sir Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man deployed to fix broken Manchester United dressing room

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Mike Phelan has been asked to help unify the dressing room at Manchester United and prevent the club’s torrid season from falling into further disarray.

United defender Luke Shaw has pointed to a lack of togetherness and motivation at the club, a malaise which began under the previous manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and which his interim replacement Ralf Rangnick is now under pressure to fix.

Rangnick has won only three of his six games in charge so far, with United still looking a dysfunctional unit on the pitch and struggling to score goals. Monday’s 1-0 loss at home to Wolves was their sixth defeat in the past 14 Premier League matches.

The former RB Leipzig coach recruited sports psychologist Sascha Lense to work with the players, but attempts to lift the mood have yet to materialise and the German has already complained about negative body language giving opponents an advantage, a lack of physical intensity and control and poor use of the ball.

Now Rangnick has turned to Phelan, who was first-team coach under Solskjaer and Sir Alex Ferguson’s former No 2, in an attempt to build bridges in a dressing room which has divided into cliques.

Phelan initially seemed in danger of losing his job following Rangnick’s arrival, but the 59-year-old, whose association with United stretches back to 1989 when he signed as a player and then included spells as reserve-team coach and Ferguson’s assistant, is now seen as the ideal man to try to address the splits that threaten to derail United’s season. He is one of the last links to the troubled “cultural reboot” that United implemented in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s sacking as manager in December 2018.

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