‘I love it here’: Joyous McKenna pledges to take Ipswich party to Premier League

‘I love it here’: Joyous McKenna pledges to take Ipswich party to Premier League

Kieran McKenna has pledged his future to Ipswich after leading them into the Premier League. On an emotional afternoon at Portman Road, McKenna was in a contemplative mood as he reflected on the journey taken to consecutive promotions, and the challenges that await them next season.

Naturally, McKenna’s success has earned him numerous admirers and he has been linked with a number of big jobs over recent months, West Ham and Brighton among them. But speaking after the 2-0 win over Huddersfield, McKenna argued that the hard work and focus he has displayed over the past two seasons were proof of his loyalty.

“I love it here,” he said. “I’m so proud to be the manager of this football club, I’ve given so much of myself, and I’m just so focused on enjoying that journey. The speculation has been there for the last two years, to be honest, and I’ve shown loyalty to the club. I’m pleased I’ve stuck with it. There’s some big and exciting steps to come.”

McKenna said the scale of Ipswich’s achievement – 194 points in two seasons – would take some time to sink in. But plans for pre-season are already well advanced, with multiple contingencies built in around promotion or the possibility of taking part in the playoffs. And so after a short break to spend time with his family and recharge the batteries, McKenna will set to work.

Could McKenna have foreseen a transformation on this scale when he took over in 2021, with Ipswich in the bottom half of League One? “No, not on this timescale,” he replied. “We had the goal to get promotion, but everybody does. There are so many big clubs in the pyramid, so to achieve it is an incredible amount of work, in one of the toughest Championships there’s ever been.”

Ipswich Town captain Sam Morsy lifts the trophy as his teammates celebrate their team’s promotion to the Premier League.View image in fullscreen

He said the speed of Ipswich’s rise brought challenges as well as opportunities. “It’s come before anyone could have expected,” he said. “It’s a massive step up, no doubt about it. A humongous step up in every single department. It’s a massive challenge to be competitive in the Premier League. But these are things to think about next week.”

McKenna also confirmed that the club would “look at all possibilities” of permanent deals for their loan stars Brandon Williams (Manchester United), Omari Hutchinson (Chelsea) and Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth).

After congratulating Ipswich on their triumph, the Huddersfield coach, André Breitenreiter, said he would consider his own future after their relegation to League One was confirmed. “The conversations we will hold after the season,” he said. “We have a new owner, a new sporting director and they know we need many changes in culture, in identity, in behaviour,” he said. “I’m not normally a coach for a third-league team.”

Source: theguardian.com