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Ed Woodward makes admission over Manchester United transfer strategy

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Ed Woodward has admitted that Manchester United’s transfer strategy has suffered in recent years because the connect between the club’s hierarchy and its football approach had become “blurred”.

The United executive vice chairman has made a number of recent appearances in the media and, while reiterating his support for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to carry out a “culture reboot” accepted that mistakes have been made at Old Trafford.

He lauded Solskjaer and his coaching staff and spoke at length about his plans to return United to the top — and by the top he said “we have to win the Premier League”.

Woodward was speaking in an interview with fanzine United We Stand after coming in for a huge amount of criticism amid an abject start to the Premier League season for Solskjaer’s side. United haven’t won the league since Woodward took over from David Gill in 2013 as the club’s most senior executive. Their highest league finish has been fourth, apart from one second-placed finish, and three managers have been sacked.

 

“The communication of the high level direction and vision and strategy that we had from a football perspective had become blurred,” Woodward said.

“We hired Ole because he syncs with that vision. The people and structures that we are putting in place are there to support that vision are in place for now and in the future.”

There has been talk at United in recent months about restoring the culture of winning — that was prevalent under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

 

Woodward says that extends to the signings that are made, the attitude in training and how players conduct themselves off the pitch, with Solskjaer integral to the mantra of “humble but arrogant”.

“We want players to come in who respect their teammates, the club, the history,” he added.

“They must understand that they are creating a legacy by coming to Manchester United. Nobody is bigger than the club.

“There should be both a humbleness and an arrogance. Humble when you are on the team coach and you wear the club suit, you do up your top button and wear your tie, you represent the club in the right way. Then you sign autographs for the people who pay your wages.

“Then, when you go into the dressing room, you put the red shirt on and you feel arrogant, self assured. Ole has brought a lot of the discipline back.

“Whatever manager we have has to buy into that philosophy and Ole is a walking, talking version of that. Let’s let this play out with Ole in terms of the culture reboot.”

 

Woodward was also quizzed on the amount of criticism he receives and the testing demands of United’s enormous fanbase.

“I understand the scrutiny; it’s part of the job,” he added.

“We have to do everything that we possibly can to get back to winning the Premier League. We are not successful until we do. Second is not success, we have to win the Premier League.

“I feel that we are on the right track to get back to that point but we are going to have to be patient.”



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