Ed Woodward speaks out in the midst of the Manchester United crisis

Ed Woodward insists that success on the pitch is Manchester United’s ‘top priority’ despite their refusal to fire the beleagured manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

United have lost four of their last six Premier League games, including a 5-0 dubbing of Liverpool and a 2-0 schooling of Manchester City, where they have conceded 12 goals in defeats.

Although United are top of the Champions League Group F, they are on point with Villarreal, United’s opponents in their penultimate group game next week. United were eliminated from the League Cup at the first hurdle by West Ham in September.

Despite the gloomy form with only five wins from 11 league games, United have resisted firing Ole Gunnar Solskjær, but Manchester Evening News understands that senior officials have privately accepted that it will be necessary to change leader.

Solskjær can still hold on until the end of the season, when Woodward will have left his post as CEO. Woodward offered his resignation in April following his support for the doomed Super League concept.


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Woodward was quoted in United’s first-quarter financial results as the club saw a 16% increase in turnover – up to £ 1265million – due to the return of matchmakers to Old Trafford.

In a statement linked to the results, Woodward said: “While these economic results today demonstrate our resilience through the pandemic, our top priority is success on the pitch.

“The coach, the players and everyone in the club are determined to achieve this goal.”

United’s net debt has fallen slightly to £ 439.7 million, while £ 17.4 million was earned back from the transfer of Daniel James to Leeds United, as well as the sale fee from Romelu Lukaku’s transfer from Inter Milan to Chelsea.

Wage increase of 23% to £ 88.5m is a consequence of the contracts of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

United have chosen to host half-year and full-year conferences, so they will not review specific statistics on the seismic re-signing of Ronaldo on the transfer deadline in August.

The increase in retail after lockdown and strong launches of sets led to an 8% increase in commercial revenue, boosted by Ronaldo’s return, although his impact only reflects the last month of the quarter.

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