Ed Woodward remains confident of achieving ‘long-term success’ at Manchester United despite debt rising 23 per

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has reiterated his belief that the club are moving in the right direction with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm.

Woodward, whose home came under attack from a small group of disgruntled fans last month, made his latest comments on the day United released their second quarter 2020 fiscal results.

Ed Woodward maintains Manchester United are heading in the right direction under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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Ed Woodward maintains Manchester United are heading in the right direction under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Red Devils’ revenue fell by nearly 12 per cent in the six months to December, with that drop largely because of the club’s absence from the Champions League.

United remain in contention for Europa League and FA Cup glory, though they sit fifth in the Premier League – and a mammoth 38 points behind arch rivals Liverpool at the top of the table.

The big-money January arrival of Bruno Fernandes has increased optimism around the club, with Woodward maintaining that the Red Devils are now in a good position to push on.

“We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season,” he said.

“We have continued to make progress on our squad rebuild, with many changes in terms of players that we have brought in and players that have come through our academy; the foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole.”

Meanwhile, the club reiterated their revenue guidance for the year of between £560million and £580million, while net debt is up 23.2 per cent to £391.3m.

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United say the increase of £73.6m over the year is ‘primarily due to an overall decrease in cash and cash equivalents’ and that ‘the gross USD debt principal remains unchanged’.

United recorded revenues of £168.4m in Q2 – down 19.3 per cent on the same period the previous year – and an operating profit of £36.5m, including the aforementioned 17 per cent drop.

But commercial revenues are up seven per cent, including 11.9 per cent in sponsorship, following recent deals with Alibaba and Mondelez International.

In other news, United have handed new deals to highly-rated defender Ethan Laird and goalkeeper Paul Woolston.

Laird has been on the club’s books since the age of 10 and made his first-team debut against Astana in the Europa League last November.

The 18-year-old’s fresh contract keeps him at Old Trafford until 2023, with the option to extend by a further year, while goalkeeper Woolston has extended his time at the club until 2021.