Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Jones enjoying life at the top

Phil Jones

Phil Jones may have been critical of Manchester United's performance against Blackburn on New Year's Eve but he is still loving life at the Barclays Premier League summit.

Having been given a reprieve by Manchester City's shock defeat at Sunderland, the Red Devils will remain in the thick of the title battle if they have better fortunes than their neighbours when they head to the north east to face Newcastle on Wednesday.

To enjoy such experiences is one of the major reasons why Jones left Blackburn last summer, and he conceded it is far better to be involved at the other end of the table, saying: "I am excited."

He added: "I am loving it. It was a nice feeling to get out of trouble with Blackburn on the last day of the season. It is an even nicer feeling knowing you are at the top of the table with a fantastic chance of winning the English title."

Jones was scathing of United's performance against Blackburn but the aftermath has been full of conjecture about Wayne Rooney, and a lesser extent, Darron Gibson, both of whom watched from an executive box at Old Trafford when it had been anticipated they would be involved.

Although there has been no word from United about whether the pair will be part of Ferguson's squad for the trip to Tyneside, it would be a major surprise if they were not on the team bus given the speed with which both parties have expressed a desire to move on from the disciplinary measures invoked by Ferguson following their Boxing Day night out.

That offers the best chance of United bouncing back from their first league defeat since that 6-1 hammering by Manchester City in October. And the response from that disaster, eight wins from nine games, leaves Jones to suggest United do have what it takes to eventually clinch title number 20.

"Never for one second did I think we weren't good enough, " he said.

"The way we bounced back from the Manchester City game was unbelievable. Not everyone thought we would. But that is what Manchester United does best; prove people wrong.

"When the chips are down, you see who the real fighters are. That is the beauty of Manchester United."

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