Belfast Telegraph

Jones enjoys partnering Vidic

Manchester United youngster Phil Jones believes the champions are a much tough proposition with captain Nemanja Vidic back leading the defence.

The Serbian centre-back gave a commanding performance in his first Barclays Premier League appearance since day one of the season as United claimed a hard-fought win at Everton on Saturday.

United needed to lift morale after last week's 6-1 drubbing by Manchester City and Vidic was particularly strong in the air as Everton, despite applying considerable pressure, were shut out 1-0 at Goodison Park. Jones, 19, who himself shone at right-back, told MUTV: "He is our captain and you don't want to go without your captain."

He added: "The determination and greatness shows and it rubs off on everyone else. We fought defensively as a unit. We have 11 players when we defend, not just four.

"I thought 11 players defended terrifically well when Everton were throwing everything, the kitchen sink, at us at the end. I thought we stood strong as a unit and held together."

United's form has dipped over the past month and statistics highlighting the high number of chances they are allowing opponents were a concern even before City brutally exposed them.

Vidic was left out of the derby after his comeback from a two-month lay-off with a calf injury went wrong with a red card on Champions League duty against Otelul Galati.

He returned at Aldershot in the Carling Cup last week and then started against Everton alongside Jonny Evans, who was given a vote of confidence by manager Sir Alex Ferguson after his derby dismissal.

That left Rio Ferdinand to occupy a place on the bench but Ferguson felt he had made the right call in restoring Vidic.

The Scot, who next week celebrates 25 years in charge at Old Trafford, said: "It was a fantastic performance by Vidic. Every ball that came into our box, he got it clear. That's his speciality. He's a fantastic header of the ball and that was key for us."


From Belfast Telegraph