Manchester United chief executive David Gill has given beleaguered manager Sir Alex Ferguson his backing as the club’s season threatens to disintegrate.

United’s loss to Manchester City put them 12 points behind Arsenal and following lasst week’s Champions League defeat to Porto, left the club facing thepossibility of a second trophy-less season in the space of three years.

“I spoke to Sir Alex and he’s committed to turning it around and having a very strong end to the season,’ said Gill.

“We’ve been written off in the past but you have to recognise what Sir Alex has achieved,” Gill told the Daily Mail.

“It’s been difficult going out of Europe and our performances in the Premiership have not been great.

“We have got some positive things to look forward to.

“The manager has signed a new contract and we have signed Louis Saha, who I think will be a great asset.”

also defended Ferguson’s decision to sell David Beckham to Real Madrid last summer.

“Up until Christmas we were playing fantastically well and no-one was asking at that point whether we were missing David Beckham.”

Ferguson has also been criticised for not buying a a central defender when the transfer window opened in January.

“We would have wanted someone good enough to play in the Champions League and they are few and far between.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but at the time we felt it was the right decision.”