LONDON Mike Phelan was finally appointed Hull City manager on a permanent basis on Thursday after 83 days in charge as a caretaker.
Phelan took over from Steve Bruce, who resigned in July before the season began and was appointed manager of Championship side Aston Villa on Wednesday.
"It’s been a while in coming, but I’m happy with the position I am now in and looking forward to the challenge ahead," the 54-year-old told the club's website (www.hullcitytigers.com) on Thursday.
"It’s exciting to step over that threshold into management, and I’m looking forward to working with this group of players that has done so well so far."
Under Phelan's stewardship, Hull began the season with wins over defending champions Leicester City and Swansea City, before being beaten at home by Manchester United.
Hull picked up just one point from their next four league fixtures, which have included home defeats by Arsenal and Chelsea and a 5-1 drubbing away to Liverpool.
The club are currently 15th in the 20-team table and travel to Bournemouth on Saturday.
One of Phelan's first tasks will be to find a new assistant after Stephen Clemence, son of former England goalkeeper Ray, decided to leave and rejoin his mentor Bruce as Villa's first team coach.
Phelan, who was Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United and was Premier League Manager of the Month in August, said it was important for the club to move forward.
"The support I have received from everyone has been magnificent and I want that to continue because the challenges ahead are huge," he said.
"The fans have been excellent through the last few months and the players have given me their full backing."
Promoted Hull began the season in the grip of a full blown crisis, with Bruce's resignation adding to the upheaval caused by on-off takeover talks, and as the bookies' favourites for relegation.
(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru/Alan Baldwin; Editing by Toby Davis)