Departing Manchester United vice chairman Ed Woodward comes out in support of boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and says the board is ‘determined’ to deliver success with the under-pressure Norwegian in charge
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finds himself under major pressure at Manchester United
- The United boss has been questioned after defeats to Liverpool and Man City
- Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has delivered his backing to Solskjaer
- He reiterated the club are focused on bringing success with Solskjaer in charge
Ed Woodward has insisted Manchester United remain ‘determined’ to deliver success with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, despite the club’s start to the season piling pressure on their beleaguered manager.
United face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday after mustering just four points from the past 18 available and being humiliated by fierce rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
The standard of performances from a richly assembled squad has left serious questions about Solskjaer’s suitability to remain in charge.
Manchester United chief Ed Woodward (left) has given his backing to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
United look off the pace in the title race but executive vice-chairman Woodward said the board are determined to kick on and ‘deliver’ success with the under-fire Norwegian boss in charge
As Sportsmail revealed, the Old Trafford hierarchy are desperate to get through the season with Solskjaer and have so far ignored calls for change despite links with Brendan Rodgers, Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane.
But Solskjaer was also left under no illusions about his responsibilities as outgoing executive vice-chairman Woodward delivered a carefully worded statement in relation to their latest financial results.
‘While these financial results today demonstrate our resilience through the pandemic, our top priority is success on the pitch,’ Woodward said on Wednesday.
‘The manager, players and everyone at the club are determined to achieve that objective.’
United announced that revenues had increased by 16 per cent to £126.5million for the three months to September 30 thanks to the return of full crowds at Old Trafford in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has been linked but United’s hierarchy are backing Solskjaer
Mauricio Pochettino (left) and Zinedine Zidane (right) have been mooted as successor options
Notably, underlining their investment in Solskjaer’s squad, the club’s wage bill had increased by almost a quarter in the wake of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton in the summer.
Those four have added almost £1.3m a week to the wage bill, though the cost has yet to be reflected in results on the pitch.
Wages for the three months to September 30 had mushroomed to £88.5m, a £16.6m – or 23.1 per cent – increase on the prior year-quarter.
Ronaldo accounted for the majority of that rise given that United made him the highest-paid player in Premier League history when they signed him from Juventus in August.
Ronaldo’s impact was felt in other ways with retail and merchandising up a fifth to £28.1m, although his signing only came in the final month of the quarter.
Matchday revenue increased more than 1,000 per cent to £18.8m following the return of full crowds and commercial income jumped nearly eight per cent to £64.4m for the quarter.
United made a profit of £17.4m following the sale of Wales forward Daniel James to Leeds and a sell-on clause on Romelu Lukaku, who joined Chelsea from Inter Milan, compared to a £12.6m loss in the prior year quarter.
The additions of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo have seen Man United’s wage bill rocket
The club’s net debt stood at £439.7m on September 30, down slightly from £440.6m the previous year.
Meanwhile, Roma remain keen to sign Diogo Dalot on a permanent deal in January. The Portuguese full-back has remained on the periphery of Solskjaer’s squad this season and is eager for more game time.
United will not let him leave without finding a suitable replacement and maintain interest in Kieran Trippier at Atletico Madrid and Max Aarons of Norwich City.
Trippier is currently facing eight weeks out after suffering a ‘grade three sprain of his left shoulder’.
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