Wednesday 22 November 2017

Busy festive period no problem for Jones

Many of the Premier League's foreign contingent may struggle to understand the concept behind England's packed festive football calendar, but Manchester United defender Phil Jones is not amongst those complaining.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Chelsea counterpart Andre Villas-Boas are amongst those to have made their feelings known about a fixture list that has forced them to play five games in little over a fortnight.

With some bizarre scores for most teams, it is easy to see why they feel it makes a mockery of their intense planning. However, it remains the time of year when crowds are at their highest.

And, even though United are one of those who suffered, when they were beaten at Old Trafford by Blackburn on New Year's Eve, Jones has no axe to grind. "Everyone has a little bit of a moan up about how many games there are around Christmas but the beauty of it is that everyone is in the same position," he said. "We just have to get on with it.

"It is about how we manage and cope with injuries.

"We have been a bit unfortunate but we are still up there fighting with the best."

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 players watched from an executive box at Old Trafford when it had been anticipated they would be involved. Alex Ferguson has confirmed Rooney will be available, which is hardly a surprise given the speed with which both parties have expressed a desire to move on from the disciplinary measures invoked by Ferguson following their St Stephen's 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 defeat, eight wins from nine games, prompted Jones to say: "The way we bounced back from the City game was unbelievable. Not everyone thought we would.

"But that is what Manchester United does best; prove people wrong."

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