Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ipswich boss McKenna shutting out speculation amid Chelsea, Brighton links

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 May 2024

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Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is blocking out speculation linking him with the vacant posts at Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion.

McKenna has earned plaudits after leading Ipswich to back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, ending the Tractor Boys’ 22-year exile from the top flight.

His outstanding work has led to suggestions he is a target for other clubs, with Brighton and Hove Albion being linked with a move after Roberto De Zerbi left the club.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, reports suggested he was a possible contender to take over at Chelsea after Mauricio Pochettino surprisingly left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent.

McKenna saw off competition from Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta, Sean Dyche, Unai Emery and John Mousinho to win the League Managers Association’s Manager of the Year award on Tuesday, and his focus is simply on celebrating Ipswich’s achievements.

“When you do well as a manager, or as a player, there’s always going to be speculation,” McKenna said at Tuesday’s awards ceremony.

“What we’ve achieved is no ordinary thing so of course there’s going to be speculation. That’s not where my focus is, to be honest.

“It’s been a wonderful couple of years and tonight is about celebrating that. Everyone’s looking forward to next season and I know the club’s going to be in a really good place.”

McKenna has also been tentatively linked with a return to Manchester United, where he spent five years as a coach with the academy and the first team, as Erik ten Hag’s position continues to be questioned.

Former Red Devils boss Alex Ferguson presented McKenna with his award on Tuesday, which he described as “one of the most humbling and proudest moments” of his life.

“It’s the best thing in the world and I’ve had good experience as a first-team coach, but to be a manager in the Premier League and go up against great managers is going to be a great challenge and something I can’t wait for,” he added.

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