Ed Woodward has given Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær his backing after the Norwegian endured yet another disappointing result against West Ham on Sunday.
The executive vice-chairman gave his support to Solskjær during United’s quarterly investor’s call, where he also announced record revenues of £627.1m for the club.
The record figure, however, has not translated to results on the field and Woodward stressed the importance of the club’s on-pitch success. The Red Devils CEO was quoted by the Guardian saying: “Our growing global fan-base demands success, and success means winning trophies. That target and that standard has never changed for Manchester United and we will continue to focus on the long-term strategy and won’t be influenced by short-term distractions.”
The club’s hierarchy has been called into question once again after the weekend defeat to West Ham, with particular scrutiny placed upon the club’s recruitment over the summer. The acquisitions of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James have so far looked very promising, however, they have failed to replace Romelu Lukaku in attack, an issue laid bare this weekend when Marcus Rashford went off injured, joining Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood on the treatment table.
Despite this Woodward remains confident the club is on the right path: “The progress we’ve made on the business side underpins our continued investment in the football side,” he said. “Much of the investment in the academy, the recruitment department and the training ground facilities is not immediately apparent to those on the outside, but we believe we have put the building blocks in place for success.”
“While we are confident this investment will deliver results it is important that we are patient as Ole and his team build for the future. We intend to get back to the top of English football. We want to return to the roots of our club’s ethos of youth-led, attacking football and we will continue to make the necessary investments to make it happen. This long-term approach to building a squad is the right one.”
As well as recent criticism on the club’s player recruitment, a lot of United fan’s frustrations have been vented towards the lack of a director of football being appointed to help the club form a more solid strategy on the style of play and which players they wish to target to enforce this. As ever though, Woodward kept his cards close to his chest, saying: “Regarding the speculation around the head of football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side. We feel the players we signed this summer show we are resolute in our desire to return to the top of English football.”
Though United do seem to be heading in the right direction in some aspects under Solskjaer, the club still has a lot to do to challenge the current top two Liverpool and Manchester City. Failure to qualify for the Champions League again this season may spell trouble for both revenues and on-pitch results.
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