David Moyes will renew acquaintances with Mike Phelan on Saturday insisting he only did what his Manchester United successors Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have done since.
One of Moyes’ first decisions on replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford during the summer of 2013 was to dispense with the services of assistant manager Phelan.
However, Moyes is adamant all he did was make room for his own staff after inheriting his predecessor’s for what proved to be a brief and ill-fated spell at United.
The Sunderland boss said: “It was tough because I understand how important [Phelan had been] and the good work he had done. But I also had to make a decision.
“I went with my own team, just like maybe Louis van Gaal went with his team or Jose Mourinho took his team. They were the decisions you had to make and I made that decision.
“But Mick’s a good guy. I have known Mick a long time.”