Kieran McKenna says one needs thick skin to be at Manchester United – Man United News And Transfer News
Former Manchester United coach Kieran McKenna has revealed that a person requires thick skin to withstand the public scrutiny that comes with the territory of being at Manchester United.
The 37-year-old spent over five years with Manchester United as first-team coach before taking up the managerial position at Ipswich Town in December 2021, shortly after the sacking of then-United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Having recently secured promotion to the Championship with his new club, McKenna still thinks back fondly of his experiences and lessons learned while with United.
Often coming under scrutiny while working under Solskjaer, McKenna said in a recent interview with The Guardian, “If you can block out the noise in that environment and still concentrate on delivering good sessions to help the players, while staying true to who you are as a person, then you feel you can go anywhere and do it.”
“Not many places will have more intensity than there and you need a thick skin. That experience was massive for me.”
Going elsewhere and doing it is exactly what McKenna has done, taking League One by storm by deploying a swashbuckling modern style of football which is rare for the lower divisions.
The Northern Irishman achieved promotion in his first full season.
Taking the thick skin he developed while at United, McKenna has continued to prove doubters wrong at Ipswich by sticking to his footballing ideals and using tactics he was told wouldn’t work in League One.
But he has proved critics wrong and despite only finishing second, Ipswich finished the season with the most goals and highest goal difference of any club in the English football leagues.
McKenna also added that he was proud of the work done at United saying, “There was a lot of good stuff done over that period and I know how that was recognised and received internally. I was always proud of the work we did there.”
Initially joining United as U-18 manager, McKenna led the club to their last U-18s title back in 2018 before being promoted to a first team coaching role.
While with the first team, McKenna helped the club to a second place finish as well as runners up in the Europa League and a further four cup semi-finals but ultimately couldn’t add silverware with the club.
Solskjaer has been quick to congratulate McKenna on his success saying, “Kieran is another I want to be successful and I’m glad he got Ipswich Town promoted in his first full season in management.”
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