Kieran McKenna has been named League One’s manager of the week after being hailed for the flowing football played during his first two games as Ipswich Town boss.
The former Manchester United assistant got his big chance as a number one when he was appointed at Portman Road last month.
Yesterday’s 4-0 win at Gillingham was not only his side’s first away success in the league since the start of November, but it added to the victory over Wycombe Wanderers to mean McKenna is the first Ipswich boss to win his first two league games since Roy Keane in 2009.
And it’s the manner of the football played that has really earned plaudits, particularly a flowing move for yesterday’s third goal that featured a scything through ball from the in-form Sone Aluko.
"The 3-5-2 with Aluko at number 10 looks to really suit the players at his disposal,” said former Swindon Town star Sam Parkin on Quest TV’s highlights show.
"James Norwood has four in four now and you can see the movement and slickness of the play.
“It was the third goal that I really enjoyed. There were eight passes that I counted, moving the ball across the pitch. It’s lovely build-up play once more and the pass from Aluko encapsulated what he’s bringing to the party.
Tract-four Boys 4⃣— Quest (@QuestTV) January 8, 2022
Kieran McKenna’s @IpswichTown are playing some sumptuous football 😍#EFLonQuest - Saturdays at 9pm #EFL #itfc @IpswichTownFans @twtduk @ITFC_bible
Stream free on demand with @discoveryplusUK: https://t.co/5BVoLl5xim pic.twitter.com/Wl2X2n6SaC
“It’s only a start and it’s against a team that hasn’t won since October but it’s a fantastic start to his tenure.”
While his name had been brought into the criticism directed at former United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the closing months of his time at Old Trafford, Ipswich fans are delighted with the opening weeks of his reign and some United fans are now taking to social media to suggest their poor own side’s poor form might have “had virtually nothing to do with him”.
The recent duo of wins, which included five goals and zero conceded, is the first time Ipswich have won back to back league games since October and they’ll look to make it three in a row for the first time since March when they go to Bolton next weekend.
"Our attitude was spot on and some of our football was really top end. Some of the things we’ve been working on came on in the game,” said McKenna after Saturday’s win.
"Our first three goals would grace any game. It wasn’t just about individual quality but movement and co-ordination, things that’s we’ve been working on. The players have taken on the ideas really well and showed a willingness to learn. It doesn’t always translate into the game and that can be frustrating as a coach but today it did.
"It gives us a good base to build on. We’re not going to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’re a long way from where we want to be.”