Woodward rules out knee-jerk Mourinho sacking after Man Utd's poor start

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The executive vice-chair has told shareholders he is "looking at the bigger picture" following the club's inconsistent results so far this season

Manchester United have thrown their weight behind manager Jose Mourinho despite the club’s indifferent start to the Premier League season.

United drew 1-1 at home to Wolves on Saturday and have so far collected only 10 of 18 available points, with back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Tottenham in August having put Mourinho’s future under the spotlight.

But executive vice-chair Ed Woodward insisted on Tuesday that the club are not about to make any knee-jerk decisions when it comes to Mourinho’s position at the club.

“As it’s easy to get caught up in the game-by-game fluctuations of our season, or even the relatively minor pieces of business and industry news, I would like to take this opportunity to take a step back and look at the bigger picture,” said Woodward.

“We’re the biggest sports team in the world as measured by number of fans, and we know that’s a position that requires continued effort and investment to maintain.

"Our board, our investors and everyone at the club are aligned with the fans on what we need to do on the pitch and that is to win trophies.

"That’s one of the reasons we hired Jose Mourinho, and we’ve already won three with him.”

Woodward was speaking in a call with club investors following the release of the club’s annual earnings report which showed a record turnover in the 12 months up to June 30, 2018.

The 2017-18 books show a 12.3 per cent increase in wages to £295.9m, reflecting the British record salary handed to new signing Alexis Sanchez in January as well as bonus payments paid to players as a result of participation in the Champions League.

But United continue to make huge strides in financial and commercial terms despite their form on the field, with last season seeing them go without a single trophy following successes in the FA Community Shield, the EFL Cup and the Europa League in 2016-17.

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Indeed, their social media profile continues to be strong, with managing director Richard Arnold boasting: “We have more followers on Facebook than the NBA, the NFL, NHL and MLB combined.

"While the Manchester United mobile app reached the number one sports download ranking in over 70 territories and has active users in over 210 markets.”

Mourinho and United will be hoping to bounce back from their early-season difficulties on Tuesday night when they host Derby County in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford, while they return to Premier League action with a trip to West Ham on Saturday.

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