‘We need to keep control’: Manchester United give backing to Solskjær

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has received strong backing from Manchester United’s football director, with John Murtough stating the club “need to keep control” and not deviate from their plan.

United entered the international break in shaky form after three defeats and a draw in their past six matches. Yet Solskjær’s side are only two points behind the Premier League leaders, Chelsea, and a point from the top of their Champions League group.

Murtough, United’s first football director, reports to Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, and his comments regarding the manager can be viewed as a significant vote of confidence.

“[We] need to keep control, don’t get carried away, don’t deviate from our plan,” Murtough told a fans’ forum two weeks ago. “Ole and the staff are very focused on that. We have a long-term strategy and confidence in the direction that we’re going. We believe that we’ve got the talent and the character within the squad to succeed. The Premier League is one of the most competitive leagues in the world – players from abroad and other [domestic] leagues tell us how [challenging] it is – but we are 100% up for that.”

Murtough dismissed social media, which is often used as a platform to criticise Solskjær, his squad and the club. “[We] don’t get distracted by what’s said on social media, which can sometimes create fervour and hysteria,” he said. “It’s part of the modern game, but we stay focused.”

Murtough has appointed United’s first director of data science, Dominic Jordan. “There is huge potential to strengthen our existing capabilities, and build new ones, as part of a more integrated approach to managing and using data,” Murtough said.