Football/Soccer

Consistency key for Manchester United now says Kieran McKenna

Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford
Andy Watters

CONSISTENCY is the missing ingredient and adding it will put Manchester United back into a position to reclaim the Premier League title, says first team coach Kieran McKenna.

The Fermanagh native, who cut his teeth with the United first team under Jose Mourinho, is now part of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s management set-up and he says the Red Devils have proved that they can compete against their Premier League rivals.

United are one of only two clubs to haven taken points off pacesetters Liverpool this season and home and away wins over title holders Manchester City are among the other highlights. However, the inconsistent team sit fifth in the table, 37 points behind Liverpool, and that tells the tale of a side that has not been able to perform at its best week-in, week-out.

“There have been a couple of clubs that have been performing very well over the last couple of seasons and, for everyone involved in Man United, that’s where we want to be,” said former Enniskillen Gaels player McKenna.

“It’s going to be a process to get to that point and that’s what everyone is working towards. I think over the last 12 months the team has shown that they can compete against other big teams in Europe and also in the Premier League.

“We’ve had some fantastic results in one-off games and we’ve also managed to progress well in the cups but it’s another big step to reach the level of consistency that those teams have in terms of winning games week-in, week-out in the league and that’s the big step that everyone wants to take now.”

United scored 10 goals without conceding any in their three games before the COVID-19 pandemic caused what all football fans hope is a temporary cessation to the season. McKenna has helped to usher through a clutch of promising youngsters since moving from the United Academy to a first team role and says Belfast native Ethan Galbraith is “progressing well” in the club’s U23 side.

The development of the talented midfielder has been put on hold and McKenna says the priority now is “to be patient and be grateful to the people in the NHS”.

“It’s very difficult for anyone to say (when football will return) at the moment,” he said.

“It’s obviously a very tough period for everybody and people who are involved in football are in the same position as everybody else – it’s staying at home with our families and trying to stay safe.

“The main priority is the health and safety of the people and I think football has done the right thing in terms of shutting down and also the right thing in terms of saying that the time to start up again will be when it’s safe to do that.

“In the meantime we all need to be patient and be grateful to the people in the NHS who are in the frontline trying to fight off the virus and give the rest of society a chance to eventually return to normality.”

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Football/Soccer
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