Manchester United chief Ed Woodward chose his words carefully when giving his support to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this week, and knows he’ll be able to explain himself properly if he sacks the Norwegian boss. That’s the verdict of transfer expert Duncan Castles.
Woodward issued a statement during the week amid heavy speculation over Solskjaer’s future.
The United boss has overseen a poor start to the season – their worst since 1972 at home in the league.
Reports had circulated suggesting United had already contacted Mauricio Pochettino over his availability, as many felt a defeat against Everton would be the end for club icon Solskjaer.
But they went to Goodison Park and came away with a 3-1 victory thanks to a Bruno Fernandes masterclass.
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Then, just days later, Woodward attempted to further distance himself from the reports over Pochettino, as he said the club is fully committed to the way things are going.
He said United “remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole”.
This led to many feeling Woodward had given his full backing to Solskjaer, but Castles has another opinion.
Speaking to the Transfer Window Podcast, he claimed that the chief executive’s wording in his statement lends itself to a potential u-turn in the future.
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Castles explained that Woodward was potentially lining himself up to change his mind over Solskjaer’s future and explain his actions fully if results go sour.
He asked: “What did Woodward actually say?
“He said ‘on the pitch, while there is still great work ahead to achieve absolute consistency, we remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole as the team continues to develop’.
“Yeah, you can read that as him being absolutely committed to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“But you can also read it as they’re absolutely committed to the positive path they’re on, and you can almost put ‘under Ole’ in brackets.
“It’s not ‘we are absolutely committed to Solskjaer as manager’, it’s being absolutely committed to what they describe as a positive path.
“My assumption is that what [Woodward] wanted the message to be perceived as was a message of support for Solskjaer.
“Whereas should Solskjaer be removed and results get to a stage where they decide they need a change, and they act on the communications they’ve had with Mauricio Pochettino’s people, they’d be able to go back and say ‘well, we didn’t actually say that, that commitment was to the positive path, we decided the positive path had been strayed from, therefore we had to divert ourselves from Solskjaer.'”
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