Belfast Telegraph

Jones pays tribute to Kean

Phil Jones believes Blackburn manager Steve Kean deserves praise for his work at Ewood Park this season.

Jones played under Kean for the last six months of his Blackburn career before joining Manchester United in a £17million deal last summer. On Monday the 20-year-old returns to his former club for the first time.

Chorley-born Jones said: "Steve Kean got a lot of stick and came under a lot of pressure. But you don't hear a lot about Blackburn or their manager these days. He has turned it around and deserves a lot of credit for that. He got the players working the way he wants them."

He added: "I keep in contact with quite a few of the lads. They are a great bunch and will always be my friends.

"But not in the last week. I don't want to give anything away - and nor do they."

Jones' status as a Blackburn player from his youth days allows him to provide an insight into why United have struggled so badly at Ewood Park.

Although they have managed four wins on their last 11 visits to Liverpool, five from the same number of away games at Manchester City, substantially more than that at Bolton and Everton and won every game they have played against Wigan, United have claimed just two wins from 11 trips to Blackburn.

It is a strange statistic, and one Jones knows the hosts will be eager to improve on Monday night.

"It is a really tough place to go to start with, and it is Manchester United," he said.

"It is a local derby and the build-up is all about pressing and how you can stop them from playing. It will be no different this week. They will be getting their tactics sorted and we need to be right at the top of our game to overcome that."

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