Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer not ‘distracted’ by social media critics after difficult start

John Murtough: ‘Don't get distracted by what's said on social media, which can sometimes create fervour and hysteria. It’s part of the modern game, but we stay focused’

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Friday 08 October 2021 10:07
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<p>Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer</p>

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United football director John Murtough told supporters that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his staff are sticking to their plan and ignoring social media criticism after a mixed start to the new season.

United have won five but lost three of their opening 10 games this season and sit fourth in the Premier League table, despite a relatively favourable set of opening fixtures.

Solskjaer has come under early scrutiny after a summer which saw the high-profile arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, followed by the return of United legend Cristiano Ronaldo.

The United manager is yet to win his first piece of silverware since taking charge at Old Trafford nearly three years ago, and has accepted that there is pressure to end that wait this season.

Speaking to United's fans' forum on 24 September, Murtough stressed that United will not be distracted by external noise and that Solskjaer and his staff are fully focused on the task at hand.

“We have a long-term strategy and confidence in the direction that we’re going," United's football director said.

“The Premier League is one of most competitive leagues in the world - players in from abroad and other leagues tell us how different it is - but we are 100 per cent up for that challenge.

“We believe that we've got the talent and the character within the squad to succeed.

“We need to keep control, don't get carried away, don't deviate from our plan. Ole and the staff are very focused on that.

“Don't get distracted by what's said on social media, which can sometimes create fervour and hysteria. It’s part of the modern game, but we stay focused.”

United were widely praised for the summer transfer strategy, even before the shock return of Ronaldo in a £19.7m move from Juventus.

Murtough, who was promoted to his role in March to oversee United’s football operations, believes that the club has a recruitment strategy in place that will result in success on the pitch.

“Our aim is consistency and continuity in recruitment. We have a full process in place, making sure that we're planned in what we do,” Murtough said.

“The manager always has a key role in everything that we do on player recruitment. We listen to our recruitment department and support them in terms of their thoughts or opinions. We now have increased scouting coverage globally and trust our experts in what we do.”

Murtough added: “Squad development is never ending and constantly evolving. We're sitting with Ole and we're talking about future plans in terms of where the squad will go and how we think it will develop.

“We want to balance squads with the right profile in terms of positions and in terms of age. The current squad has good balance - young exciting players coming through, those in the middle in the prime of their careers. Then the more experienced group - we can learn a lot from them, and they're already having an impact on some of those younger players.

“We want a squad that can challenge today but also in the future as well.”

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