The club’s executive vice-chairman says he was not even speaking to the England defender in a moment caught on camera that caused controversy
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has sought to defuse the controversy surrounding an exchange he had with centre-back Phil Jones during a Premier League match with West Ham earlier this season.
Social media was rife with claims that the 47-year-old had turned to the out-of-favour centre-back, who was also in the stands for the fixture, and given him a stern telling off that was caught by the TV cameras.
Some had even suggested that Jones had uttered: “sacked in the morning” in reference to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose side trailed in a game that they would ultimately lose 2-0.
Woodward, who has come under pressure for the role he has played in the Red Devils’ disastrous start to the season, has, however, given his version of events.
In an interview with United We Stand, he said: “Phil was talking about whether decisions were offside or not. There was a foul and I turned around to Rebecca Britain, our club secretary [and said]: ‘Was that a yellow card on him? [Issa] Diop?'”
United find themselves in a dire situation after nine matches of the Premier League season, sitting just two points above the relegation zone, having won only two fixtures.
On Sunday, however, they came close to a morale-boosting victory over arch-rivals Liverpool, with a Marcus Rashford goal giving them the advantage in the first half. They were pegged back by a late Adam Lallana strike, though they held out for a draw, becoming the first team to take points off the Reds this season.
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On Thursday, they will travel to Partizan for a Europa League clash, having taken four points from their first two matches in the competition.
They will then face a trip to Carrow Road, where they will tackle a Norwich City side that has been already entrenched in the relegation battle, despite a shock win over Manchester City earlier this term.
Jones, meanwhile, has found his game time limited this season, restricted to 45 minutes against Rochdale in the Carabao Cup draw, which United subsequently won on penalties, and the full game in a 1-0 home victory over Astana.