Ed Woodward on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Future, Project Big Picture & European Super League

Jamie Spencer
Dec 4, 2020, 8:30 AM GMT
Ed Woodward has spoken about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future
Ed Woodward has spoken about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has once again reiterated the club’s ongoing faith in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because of the ‘positive signs’ in the current project the Norwegian continues to oversee at Old Trafford.

United have struggled for consistency once more this season and fans grow increasingly impatient with the team’s inability to properly kick on without constantly battling setbacks.

Consistency remains Man Utd's biggest problem
Consistency remains Man Utd's biggest problem | ADAM DAVY/Getty Images

United have put together three consecutive Premier League victories against Everton, West Brom and Southampton in recent weeks, having previously failed to win back-to-back league games all season. But a Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain this week brought about fresh questions on Solskjaer’s in-game tactical nous.

Speaking at a recent fans’ forum in November from which comments have only just been made public, Woodward conceded that United lack the consistency for success, but insisted the ‘positive signs’ are there to see, only strengthening faith in the current project.

“Of course, we recognise there’s more hard work ahead to achieve the consistency needed to win trophies,” Woodward said, ahead of the West Brom, Everton and Southampton wins.

“But we see positive signs on the pitch and the training ground that reinforce our belief in the progress being made by Ole, his coaching team and the players.”

Man Utd have won their last three Premier League games
Man Utd have won their last three Premier League games | Pool/Getty Images

Woodward also took the opportunity to deny that the heavily criticised ‘Project Big Picture’ was a sly attempt at a power grab from United and Liverpool, while also distancing him and the club from rumoured European Super League plans and pledging allegiance to existing UEFA competitions.

He insisted ‘Project Big Picture’ was intended as a ‘no-strings attached’ emergency support for struggling EFL clubs and spoke of the importance of a ‘financially sustainable and robust pyramid’.

A bailout agreement worth £50m for clubs in League One and League Two has since been agreed by the Premier League and EFL.

“We are also at the centre of discussions about the future of European club competitions and, as with the reporting of Project Big Picture, context is important,” Woodward said, explaining the focus is on “…the strengthening of existing UEFA club competitions.”

“The dialogue focuses on them continuing to be predominantly mid-week games having little or no impact on the Premier League. We believe that any changes to European competition post-2024 must be complementary to thriving domestic leagues. Other domestic leagues feel the same way, reflected in conversation with our counterparts in other clubs and countries.”

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