Despite "turbulent season", Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backing of Ed Woodward at Man United

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Executive chairman Ed Woodward admitted it has been a “turbulent season” for Manchester United, but the executive vice-chairman gave his unequivocal backing to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United will be absent from the Champions League next season after a fraught 2018/19 Premier League campaign, in which they settled for an underwhelming sixth-place finish.

Woodward recognised the upheaval at Old Trafford, where Jose Mourinho was replaced by Solskjaer in December following modest results and months of alleged acrimony between the Portuguese and a number of his players.

Solskjaer’s instalment on an interim basis saw an initial improvement on the field, although shortly after the Norwegian’s appointment as permanent manager United’s season ran out of steam and they missed out on qualifying for Europe’s elite club competition.

However, Woodward revealed that the club’s strong financial position will enable them to “provide a solid foundation for the manager” ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer for the club.

Speaking on the day of United’s third-quarter financial results, Woodward said: “After a turbulent season, everyone at Manchester United is focused on building towards the success that this great club expects and our fans deserve.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been backed by Ed Woodward.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been backed by Ed Woodward.

“Preparations for the new season are under way and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future.”

Woodward added in a conference call to talk about United’s earnings report: “The season that has just ended clearly didn’t end the way we hoped, finishing in sixth place and with a disruptive managerial change part way through.

“However, Ole and the squad battled back from mid-December to put us in contention to qualify for the Champions League next season, but ultimately we came up short.

“While the last few weeks were disappointing, we are delighted to have confirmed the appointment of Ole as our manager on a three-year contract, and to have recently confirmed the key members of the coaching team.

“Mick Phelan, Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Mark Dempsey will all be remaining at the club.

“Everyone at the club – the board, the manager, the squad and all the staff are resolute in our desire to get United back to the top of English football. We continually look to improve staff on and off the pitch to achieve this.

“The strength of our business means we have the financial resources to continue to provide a solid foundation for backing the manager and creating success on the pitch. This, as ever, remains our number-one goal.”

The club posted revenues of £152.1 million for the quarter, up 3.4 per cent from last year, which translate into earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £174.9million for the year to date and an operating profit of £72.1million.

Woodward said: “After a turbulent season, everyone at Manchester United is focused on building towards the success that this great club expects and our fans deserve.

“Preparations for the new season are under way and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer targeting new signings who will work hard at Man United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prioritising signing players with a reputation for working hard as he looks to “set the culture right” at Manchester United this summer.

United look set for upheaval after an underwhelming sixth-place Premier League finish, in which they were a whopping 32 points behind champions Manchester City.

Solskjaer, as has been the case in recent weeks, did not name any individuals on his hit list but identified some of the character traits he would prefer in anyone who will move to Old Trafford over the next few months.

Solskjaer told United’s official app: “We’ve tried to educate our players and our kids to be proper people. In my view, the best players have always been the best people.

“You have to have that value system and a certain kind of attitude about you to make a Man United player.

“You have got to have the qualities and our fans want to see exciting players. Of course we want to get up from our seats. We want to see defenders who defend like they’re doing it for their lives – that’s the most important thing.

“When we start games (against big clubs), our fans clap a striker making a tackle. It’s always been in our culture. You have to have that work ethic and we’re scouting the market, trying to find the right ones.”

Solskjaer returned to the club as interim manager in December following the sacking of Jose Mourinho and his effervescent presence seemed to lift a cloud hanging over the club.

He won 14 of his first 17 matches in charge although, shortly after his appointment as permanent manager, familiar failings surfaced as a number of players under-performed in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Solskjaer wants to draw a swift line under what has gone and is already looking forward to pre-season, with United scheduled to tour Australia and Asia.
He added: “I can’t wait because it’s a fresh start. We set targets, aligning our ambitions and we’ll work together and agree certain principles.

“It’s always a massive month, or six weeks, that we have together to agree on how we’re going to do things to set the culture right.

“We want to get everyone fit for when the season starts. We don’t want to lose anyone with injuries.

“But there are a certain set of principles to say ‘this is the way we want to play’ and we can agree on, and find a system we feel comfortable in and just go from there.”

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Marcus Rashford eager to 'get back to how Manchester United play'

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Marcus Rashford wants to “get back to how Manchester United play” after an underwhelming sixth-place Premier League finish this season.

United recovered from a modest start under Jose Mourinho following the introduction into the dugout in December of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who won 14 of his first 17 matches in interim charge.

That gave United renewed hope of a top-four finish but, shortly after Solskjaer’s permanent appointment as manager, the club ran out of steam and won just two of their final 12 fixtures – and none of their last six.

Alongside an image which shows Solskjaer with his hand on Rashford’s shoulder, the 21-year-old wrote on his social media channels: “Next season we need to get back to how @manchesterunited play, for me that’s most important.

“We need to find that willingness and respond the right way.”

A number of players under-performed in the closing weeks of the campaign, including England forward Rashford, who became a regular under Solskjaer but failed to find the net in his last seven starts.

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