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Man United chief Ed Woodward’s strong comments as Everton draw adds to woes

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In the wake of Manchester United’s draw with Everton on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced more scrutiny over his position.

However, those hoping for a change of manager are set to be left disappointed. 

Ed Woodward already made it clear last month that the Norwegian was the right man for the job, despite the club blowing hot and cold during his tenure.

Manchester United took the lead against Everton through Anthony Martial.

The France international had gone eight months without a goal but, after a neat assist from Bruno Fernandes, blasted the ball past Jordan Pickford.

Yet while United looked dangerous going forward, they then conceded after Demarai Gray outmuscled Fred.

Andros Townsend levelled for the Toffees, scoring his fifth goal in nine matches following his arrival from Crystal Palace.

And though United huffed and puffed, they were unable to take all three points.

In the aftermath of the contest, some fans on social media called on Solskjaer to lose his job.

The Red Devils have failed to win three of their last five matches across all competitions, losing ground in the race for the Premier League title as a result.

However, those hoping for a change are set to be disappointed.

United chief Woodward, who will leave his post at the end of the year, said last month that the club were backing Solskjaer in his mission to guide them to the glory they crave.

“We significantly strengthened the squad over the summer, with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton,” he said.

“These signings have demonstrated our continued ability to attract some of the world’s best footballers to Old Trafford, and our firm commitment to helping Ole deliver success on the pitch.

“While squad-building is a constant process, we are more confident than ever that we are on the right track.

“This was made possible by the strength of our operating model, with sustained investment in the team underpinned by robust commercial revenues.

“We have been clear in our strategy to build a squad with a blend of top-class recruits and homegrown talent, comprising a balance of youth and experience, with the aim of winning trophies and playing attacking football the Manchester United way.

“Everyone associated with Manchester United can be proud of the resilience we have shown through the challenges created by the pandemic and we look forward to the rest of the season and beyond with great optimism.

“As we review our financial results for the 2021 fiscal year, there is little doubt that those 12 months were among the most challenging in the history of Manchester United.

“While the financial impact from the pandemic is visible, our continued underlying strength is also clear to see and everyone associated with the club can be proud of the resilience we have shown through these most testing of times.

“The most important part of this recovery is the return of fans to Old Trafford and it has been fantastic to see and hear the stadium full for the first time in almost 18 months.

“On the pitch, the team has made a strong start in the league, and everyone at the club is feeling excited about the rest of the campaign.”

So while Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane may be available, United won’t be hiring them anytime soon.

Woodward also made it clear that the Red Devils’ strong financial position had helped them weather the storm of the pandemic.

But he also warned football was at a crossroads, with spiralling wages and transfer fees putting a massive financial burden on many clubs.

“It is not an accident that we have been able to invest this summer at a time when many clubs have been retrenching,” said Woodward.

“This reflects the strong commercial model we have built over many years, ensuring that our spending is always underpinned by revenues that we generate ourselves.

“However, while we are confident in our relative strength, it remains clear that football as a whole faces major financial challenges caused by years of material inflation in wages and transfer fees, exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.

“We are committed to working within the Premier League, the ECA and UEFA to promote greater financial sustainability at all levels of the game.”

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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