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Woodward backing Solskjaer as United continue to build for the future


Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

Action Images via Reuters

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

Ed Woodward has pledged his full support to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and insisted Manchester United's early-season troubles will not derail the longer-term rebuilding process.

Sunday's 2-0 loss at West Ham was the eighth in 17 matches under Solskjaer since his appointment in March. United have scored just 16 goals and conceded 24 in that time.

But on the day they posted record revenues of £627 million (€710m) for 2018/'19, Woodward told investors the manager would retain his complete backing as part of a long-term bid to get the club "back to the top of English football".

"Much of the progress made around that investment - academy, the recruitment department and the training ground facilities - is behind the scenes and therefore isn't immediately apparent to those on the outside looking in," United's executive vice-chairman said.

"These investments, together with the commitment we have made to Ole and his coaching staff, have given us the building blocks for success. Whilst we're confident this will deliver results, it's important that we are patient while Ole and his team build for the future. We will continue to focus on the long-term strategy and won't be influenced by short-term distractions."

United's poor start has placed fresh scrutiny on the club's summer transfer dealings when no replacements were brought in for departing strikers Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez or midfielders Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini. United also failed to sign a right winger, despite long-standing problems in that position.

Subsequent injuries to a series of key players have left United's squad stretched and dependent on a host of inexperienced youngsters and a number of ageing squad players.

But Woodward defended the club's summer business and said the foundations were being put in place.

"The sale and loaning of players has also allowed the manager to involve more of our young players and to provide a firm foundation and culture ready for building the next trophy-winning squad," he said.

"We feel the players we have signed this summer demonstrates this approach is the right one.


"Returning to the roots of our club's ethos of youth-led, attacking football is the right way forward and everyone at the club remains resolute in our desire to get back to the top of English football.

"We will continue to make the necessary investments to make this happen across our first-team players, our academy and our recruitment department. This long-term approach is the right one."

Although United are still open to reviewing the football structure and personnel, Woodward said they had been emboldened by their work in the transfer market this summer.

There has been much talk about the appointment of a technical director but, if someone were to come in, he would be working in the collegiate structure that exists.

"Regarding the speculation around a head of football, we're continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side," Woodward said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)