Ed Woodward has gone public with his backing of Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite the club’s indifferent start to the season.
United have taken just 10 points and suffered three defeats from their opening seven Premier League fixtures and sit in 14th in the table ahead of the resumption of action next weekend.
The club’s indifferent form has led to growing speculation that former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino could be set to take over at Old Trafford, although United returned to winning ways before the current international break.
Ed Woodward has publicly backing Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Woodward praised the ‘positive path’ United are on under the Norwegian manager
Now speaking in a statement released along with the club’s first-quarter financial results, United executive vice-chairman Woodward said the board will continue to back the ‘positive path’ they are on under the Norwegian boss.
‘While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant disruption, we are optimistic that the recovery and normalisation phase is gradually coming into view,’ Woodward said.
‘The club’s resilience and our strong commercial business continue to provide a solid foundation and gives us confidence in our long-term outlook beyond the pandemic, both on and off the pitch.
‘We recognise that not all football clubs are in as robust of a financial position and that the Premier League has a responsibility to support the wider English football pyramid.
United’s defeat to Crystal Palace was one of three Premier League defeats already this season
Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino had been heavily linked with the Old Trafford job
‘We will continue to push for this support, both through emergency assistance during the pandemic, and through longer-term reforms to ensure that the success of the Premier League is reinforced for the benefit of the national game as a whole.
‘On the pitch, while there is still hard work ahead to achieve greater consistency, we remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole as the team continues to develop.
‘We miss playing in front of our fans and we are working hard together with our governing bodies and relevant authorities to ensure that fans can safely return as soon as possible.
‘Finally, I would like to stress our steadfast commitment to increasing equality, diversity and inclusion across our club and the game as a whole. To that end, we were pleased to be among the first clubs to sign up to the FA Football Leadership Diversity Code.
But Woodward has now come out in support of Solskjaer in a statement published by the club
‘Football has made good progress in this area but there is much more work to do and Manchester United is determined to be at the forefront of those efforts.’
United were still left red-faced despite backing the Norwegian, with their latest financial results released a day early by mistake after US company Toppan Merrill published the figures during a test run.
The figures show the devastation caused by the Covid pandemic with commercial, matchday and total revenues hit.
United’s net debt, a legacy of the Glazer family’s heavily-leveraged takeover, was up to £440.6m, however the gross principal debt remains unchanged.
Pressure was heaped on Solskjaer after Man United suffered two consecutive defeats
Matchday revenue took the biggest hit, with a 92.3 per cent fall year on year, with matches being played behind closed doors.
The public endorsement of Solskjaer from United however comes after reports suggested that Argentinian boss Pochettino is waiting to see how the situation evolves at Old Trafford as well as at Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
The former Spurs boss was heavily linked with the United hotseat after the club lost back-to-back fixtures against Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir, but some of the pressure was released by beating Everton last weekend.
But a video from The Athletic, via the Tifo Podcast, detailed that the 48-year-old manager is in all likelihood not on the verge of taking up a new job any time soon.
But some of the pressure was lifted off the Norwegian after his side beat Everton last weekend
However, speaking to Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football last week, the Argentine did confirm he would like to return to the game as soon as possible.
‘I am always ready to go again and be involved in the game,’ Pochettino said.
‘It’s not stress when you are working, it’s not stress going into the training round to prepare the match and to compete.
‘I hope to go back soon so we can start again to work. I am looking forward to being back in the game. I love this game but it’s difficult. We are inside and working on doing things. That’s the reality.’
Mauricio Pochettino said he is willing to return but a comeback is not thought to be imminent