Belfast Telegraph

Jones relishing derby atmosphere

Phil Jones is expecting the white-hot heat of a Manchester derby to eclipse the notoriously fractious rivalry between Burnley and Blackburn.

Those seething all-Lancashire tussles are the only real experience Jones has of a derby atmosphere. The spite and venom on show in those contests came as a shock to the Premier League, but even Chorley-born Jones feels that intensity will be surpassed at Old Trafford, as Manchester United entertain City looking for a win that would take them back to the top of the table.

"I played for Blackburn against Burnley and that was pretty hostile, although I would imagine this tops that one," said the 19-year-old. "The atmosphere doesn't bother me too much. We've been away in the Champions League and played in hostile atmospheres."

He added: "This is obviously going to be massive for both clubs. It means a lot to the fans. Hopefully we can get one over on them and make our supporters happy."

This particular meeting is given added spice by the fact the two Manchester clubs currently lie first and second in the table.

Chelsea will fancy their chances of gate-crashing the Mancunian party given their excellent recent form.

However, there is a sense within the United camp that City offer the greatest threat to their status as champions given the vast amounts of money Roberto Mancini has been able to spend in amassing possibly the strongest squad in Europe.

"They've had a lot of money to spend and have brought some quality players in," said Jones. "But we are just treating it as another game.

"All the papers are hyping it up. That's natural - it's a derby. But we can't afford to look at it like that. It's far too early in the season to start ruling out teams and trying to decide who's going to win the league.

"However, it would be a good confidence booster and if we concentrate on what we're good at I am sure we'll get the three points."

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