Manchester United’s Phelan likes the look of Norwich City

Former Norwich City skipper and Manchester United assistant boss Mike Phelan believes City’s collective strength of purpose can help them survive in the Premier League.

Phelan witnessed first hand the rapid progress under Paul Lambert during the Canaries’ battling 2-0 Old Trafford defeat at the weekend.

The champions were forced to introduce the likes of Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand from the bench to help grind out a hard fought win.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man believes Lambert’s success in clinching back-to-back promotions bodes well for City’s fight to remain in the Premier League.

He said: “That is some achievement from him. He’s worked in the lower echelons of football beforehand and probably made mistakes he’s learnt from.

“He then got his opportunity at Norwich and he’s taken it. He’s got them playing a brand of football which is true to the club’s traditions and I for one am delighted to see them back in the Premier League.

“The club went through a bit of rough time financially not long ago, but they’ve managed to stabilise things.

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“It’s been a real team effort in the past couple of seasons and they will need that again this year.

“It will take a major effort from everyone, not just one or two individuals to keep them up and I hope they do it.”

Phelan won promotion to the old First Division and reached an FA Cup semi-final during a four year stint at Carrow Road after originally moving from hometown club Burnley.

The midfielder eventually moved onto to Old Trafford in 1989 where he earned international recognition with England and an FA Cup winner’s medal during his first season.

Interviewed in United’s matchday magazine prior to Saturday’s game between his two former clubs, Phelan said: “To me it seemed like a proper football club and when the offer came in it felt like it was a natural progression for me to go there.

“Leaving Burnley was not something that had ever crossed my mind.

“I was a local lad and they were my team, but Norwich were in a higher division and seemed like a progressive club.

“Despite the fact they had just been relegated, I liked their philosophy and they actively sought to keep hold of their better players like Chris Woods, Dave Watson, Steve Bruce and John Deehan.

“I liked the stadium, the training facilities were good and the manager Ken Brown and Mel Machin were a good combination.”