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Kieran McKenna explains biggest coaching lesson at Manchester United amid managerial links



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Ipswich Town head coach Kieran McKenna has explained his biggest coaching lesson from being at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

McKenna, 36, spent five years at United after joining the club as a youth team coach in 2016. He was promoted to be a first-team coach under Mourinho in 2018.

Alongside Michael Carrick, he was key to the coaching team under Ole Gunnar Solskjær until he departed following the Norweigan’s sacking.

The English coach has since led Ipswich Town from mid-table in League One to the Premier League after earning automatic promotion in his first Championship season this term.

His successes with The Tractor Boys have led to links to the job at United, with INEOS reportedly considering McKenna for the role if Erik ten Hag leaves the club.

It was his time at Old Trafford which helped shape McKenna as a coach, and he has described the main lessons he learnt while under Mourinho and Solskjær.

“Being at Man United, there was massive pressure. Every loss is a disaster, and the expectation is really high, the scrutiny is really high,” he told the Telegraph at the start of the season.

“It does develop your resilience, your ability to block out noise, your ability to focus on the things that are important and to control what you can control and not worry about the things outside of that. As a manager at any club, that is important. It has helped me a lot.”

As a young coach at one of the biggest clubs in the world, McKenna quickly needed to learn to coach some greatly talented players who were, at times, older than him.

“I found it pretty comfortable, to be honest,” McKenna added. “Coming in under a legendary manager like Jose was a great experience and a healthy pressure because you want to do well.

“You want to earn the respect of the manager and the players and make sure the sessions you are taking are ‘on point’. I felt like I was able to do that with every manager I worked under there.

“Probably one of the biggest things is realising players are not that different whatever level you go to.”