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Manchester United Executive Vice President Ed Woodward has once again fully supported Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, saying the club’s long-term plans are with the Norwegian in mind.
Solskjaer is approaching the second anniversary of his appointment as United boss, initially on an interim basis, but his position has been regularly questioned during that time.
He was the subject of particular scrutiny following losses to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir in rapid succession last month, but Woodward stated at the time that United remain “absolutely committed” to the former striker.
Woodward remains satisfied with the Red Devils’ progress with Solskjaer, but acknowledged there is room for improvement, with United ninth in the Premier League and still not secured a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League heading into the last Group H.
Speaking on a virtual fan forum in late November, the minutes of which were released Thursday, Woodward said: “What happens on the field is clearly our top priority.
“While it is not the same without fans in the stadium, we have seen many successes since our last meeting in April.
“We had a 14-game unbeaten streak to finish third in the Premier League last season and great victories against PSG and RB Leipzig on our return to the Champions League this season.
Of course, we recognize that there is more work ahead to achieve the consistency necessary to win trophies.
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 3, 2020
“But we see positive signs on the field and in training camp that reinforce our faith in the progress of Ole, his coaching staff and the players.”
United missed the rumored main goal and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho during the closed season, but still strengthened their squad with the signings of Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and free agent Edinson Cavani.
The Red Devils also brought in Bruno Fernandes last January, the Portugal playmaker proved to be a huge success since arriving for an initial fee of £ 47 million.
However, the January window is notorious for being difficult to negotiate with other clubs and Woodward suggested United are not in the market for new players next month.
“I told this forum in April that we remain committed to strengthening the team, while at the same time being disciplined in our spending during the pandemic,” he said.
“I think we have delivered, with the additions we made over the summer, which brought our total net spending to more than € 200 million since the summer of 2019, more than any other major European club during that period.
“We will continue to support Ole with a planned, long-term approach to recruitment, focused on the summer windows.”
Woodward, a member of the board of directors of the Association of European Clubs, also distanced United from rumors that it is interested in joining a breakaway league made up of the biggest clubs in Europe.
“Most of my time in this sense is focused, through the ECA and the UCCSA [a joint-venture between the ECA and UEFA], on strengthening existing UEFA club competitions, ”he said.
“The dialogue is focused on continuing to be predominantly midweek matches that have little to no impact on the Premier League.
“We believe that any change in European competition after 2024 should be complementary to the prosperous national leagues. Other national leagues feel the same, reflected in the conversation with our counterparts in other clubs and countries.
“What I can assure you is that we will keep the fans who attend matches firmly at the center of our thoughts, be it with the Premier League, ECA or UEFA, and in all our decision-making processes in general.
“The last eight months have reminded us all how crucial you are to the structure of the game. This game without fans is nothing. “