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Spending is the answer, says 'disappointed' United chief

ESPN staff
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Ed Woodward is pleased with the signing of Juan Mata © Getty Images
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Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has branded the club's form this season "disappointing" and promised they will spend their way into better shape.

He said money would be made available to manager David Moyes for squad strengthening in the summer, suggesting United would are ready to pay out far more than normal to put them in a position to win the trophies

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"The long-term strategy is to build a competitive squad that can challenge for trophies," said Woodward.

"We have the ability to do that. We can buy players to compete at the top level, which is what we should be doing."

United have struggled under Moyes since he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford last summer, with the team in seventh place in the Premier League.

They are nine points adrift of a Champions League qualification spot and trail league-leaders Chelsea by 16 points.

On a day when United announced a pre-tax profit of £19.8 million in the three months to December 2013, Woodward said the performances of the club this season have come short of expectations.

"We once again achieved a record revenue quarter with strong contributions from our commercial and broadcasting businesses despite the current league position, which everyone from the team manager down has acknowledged is disappointing," he said.

United also saw their commercial revenues increase to £42.3m, up by 18.8%, as well as a rise in broadcasting revenues. They also announced the arrival of six new sponsorship deals.

When asked whether United could cope without Champions League football, Woodward said: "Some of our competitors haven't won the Premier League for a long time but still sell a huge number of shirts - out there globally, some just down the road from us. So that's not something I'm sitting here concerned about. What I am focused on is that long-term strategy."

Woodward went on to praise the signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea during the January transfer window, which saw United smash their transfer record in a £37.1m deal.

"We are also very pleased to have added a world class player in Juan Mata to our squad, who has already made a positive impact," he said.

"We continue to see meaningful opportunities to grow our commercial business and the popularity of football on TV is leading to continued broadcasting revenue growth, all of which bodes well for the long-term stability and financial strength of our business."

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