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Mourinho and squad ´united´ despite ´mixed´ start, says Woodward

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Nov 2018

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Jose Mourinho retains the support of a “fully united” squad despite a “mixed” start to the season, according to Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

The Red Devils won just three of their opening seven Premier League matches but were on an upward curve – at least in terms of results – with 10 points from a possible 12 before last weekend’s 3-1 derby defeat at Manchester City.

That result leaves United languishing in eighth place in the table, with a negative goal difference, and 12 points behind leaders City after 12 matches.

The team have faced strong criticism in some quarters over a perceived negative style of play, while reports of in-fighting – most notably between Mourinho and Paul Pogba – have dominated the headlines.

Woodward has acknowledged United’s patchy form but remains adamant everyone is pulling in one direction.

“On the pitch, we remain well positioned in the Champions League and, although we’ve had a mixed start to our domestic campaign, the squad and manager are fully united in their determination to regain our momentum in the Premier League,” Woodward said during a conference call with investors on the New York stock exchange following the release of the club’s first quarterly results.

“Over the summer we had a good pre-season tour to the US and while we couldn’t have all of the first-team squad with us, due to many of our players advancing deep into the knockout stage of the World Cup, it provided a good opportunity for many of our emerging prospects to experience being part of the first-team set-up.

“We’re looking forward to a number of them making the successful transition to the first team, like many before them, including Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira of the current squad.”

United’s financial results showed revenue of £135million up to September 30, a 6.1 per cent drop from the same period last year, while the wage bill was up 10.2 per cent, with the club having agreed new deals for Marouane Fellaini and Luke Shaw and signed four new players, including Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.

The club still predict record revenues over the year and Woodward says United remain on track with their objectives off the pitch.

“We’ve agreed new contracts with a number of players, including Fellaini and Shaw,” he added.

“These player investments, along with the investment in the club’s academy, come as a direct result of our ongoing commercial and financial strength, and underpin our long-term strategic plan to create sustainable growth over all areas of the club.”

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