Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has reiterated his backing of under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Sunday’s clash against Liverpool looming large.
The 20-time English champions are in the midst of their worst start to a season in 30 years, with the shock loss at Newcastle leaving them just two points above the drop zone.
That wretched run has ratcheted up speculation and scrutiny ahead of table-topping rivals Liverpool’s visit, yet poor results and performances have not been enough to put Solskjaer’s job in immediate jeopardy – even if they lose on Sunday.
Injuries have exposed a lack of squad depth at United, yet Woodward underlined his belief that the club are on the right track in a recent address to staff at Old Trafford.
“The middle section of last season, after Ole’s arrival, feels most relevant to what we want to achieve and where we want to be,” the executive vice-chairman said, having publicly pledged his faith in Solskjaer three weeks ago.
“We saw a team playing fast, fluid football, with a clear representation of the style and philosophy the manager wants.
“Ole has also instilled the discipline back into an environment where we may have lacked it in recent years.
“He is building a squad that respects the club’s history, in which players work hard and respect their team-mates. No-one is bigger than the club.
“The changes we saw over the summer have resulted in a very young squad.
“But it’s also a squad, with the players and the culture, that provides a base camp for us to build and grow from as we start our new journey.”
That platform is a key reason why the club hierarchy are not overly concerned about their current standing of 12th. Solskjaer is seen as a manager with broad enough shoulders to cope with flak and the intelligence to make positive changes behind the scenes.
“Ole’s vision maps exactly to the core three football objectives we have,” Woodward told United’s staff. “We must win trophies, we must play attacking football, and we must give youth its chance.”
The PA news agency understands there is a positive mood around the Aon Training Complex ahead of the tough test against Liverpool, thanks in no small part to the improved culture that Solskjaer has overseen.