(Reuters) – The sacking of Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho cost Manchester United £ 19.6 million ($ 25.1 million), England’s Premier League football club said Thursday, although it continues to expect its financial goals for that Year to achieve.

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Mourinho was eliminated in December after a string of sad results, prompting former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to manage the remainder of the season.

United said it paid £ 19.6m in compensation to Mourinho and some members of its coaching staff. According to media reports, the former manager of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan and FC Porto was paid a severance payment of £ 15 million.

By comparison, the club had paid Louis van Gaal and his coaches £ 8.4 million when the Dutchman was sacked in May 2016.

United, whose squad includes French world champions Paul Pogba and Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea, have had their worst start to the season in 28 years. United have climbed to fourth place in the Premier League since Solskjaer took the reins.

“The appointment of Ole and Mike (Phelan) as caretakers and assistant managers … has had a positive impact across the club,” said Ed Woodward, executive vice chairman, in a statement.

The recent surge in United’s fortune on the pitch has resulted in permanent calls for Solskjaer’s appointment.

The Norwegian, dubbed “the baby-faced assassin” during his playing days, is a big fan favorite, thanks not least to his last-minute goal of winning the 1999 UEFA Champions League title against Bayern Munich to fetch.

However, Woodward on Thursday refused to become embroiled in speculation about the identity of United’s next permanent manager.

Sales for the three months ended December 31st were £ 208.6 million compared to £ 177.4 million a year earlier. A new rights agreement for the lucrative Champions League helped increase broadcasting revenues by 38 percent.

The 20-time English champion continues to expect sales between £ 615 million to £ 630 million and an adjusted core profit of £ 175 million to £ 190 million for the 2018-19 period.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi, Chris Peters and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Adaptation by Keith Weir and David Goodman