Phil Jones believes Manchester United can sustain challenge at the top

Published: Sunday 27th September 2015 by The News Editor

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Phil Jones is confident Manchester United can stay top of the Barclays Premier League for the rest of the season.

United leapfrogged Manchester City into first position on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Sunderland.

After a summer of upheaval, few predicted Louis van Gaal’s team would be in such a position.

Jones says United are not getting ahead of themselves – they have played only seven matches, after all – but the belief is there that the club can maintain a serious title challenge this term.

“We have a great squad, loads of talented players. There is no reason why we can’t win the league,” the United defender said.

“But I think that is a step too far at the moment in terms of short goals.

“We are concentrating on the Wolfsburg game on Wednesday night now and making sure we get a positive result.”

United teed themselves up for the Champions League group stage game with a efficient victory over Sunderland.

Memphis Depay ended a lovely move that included contributing roles from Daley Blind and Juan Mata to score his first Premier League goal, before Wayne Rooney ended his 999-minute wait for a league strike after the break.

Juan Mata then rounded off the win in the final minute after converting a cross from substitute Ashley Young.

Jones too came off the bench to make only his second appearance since a blood clot was discovered in his leg shortly after he returned from the pre-season tour of the United States.

Jones has suffered many injuries during his time at United, but this one was like no other.

“It was something that was completely out of control,” he said.

“I came off the tour and felt a tightness in my calves and had a scan on it and found a blood clot in my leg.”

After diagnosis, Jones was forced to spend the following six weeks in isolation away from his team-mates.

“I was still fit and mobile about the house but I couldn’t join in with the lads because if you get contact it (the clot) can travel up your leg and then you are in trouble, so it’s very frustrating,” Jones added.

“So I am just buzzing to be back now and happy to be back in the fold.”

Sunderland forward Steven Fletcher was not so happy about his team’s plight.

The Scot came on at half-time for the disappointing Adam Johnson, but just 38 seconds later Rooney scored from close range to make it 2-0.

David de Gea made a couple of important saves in the second half, but in reality Sunderland looked doomed from the first whistle at Old Trafford.

Dick Advocaat’s side are yet to win in seven matches, but Fletcher insists Sunderland’s resolve remains strong.

“There is a great bunch of lads here so we will keep upbeat and hopefully the win will come sooner or later,” the striker said.

“We will work hard on the training field and the gaffer is working hard for us. He is the same, the way he always is. He is not going to change no matter what has gone on. He is a strong man as you can tell by looking at him.”

Fletcher insists the Sunderland players still back their manager 100 per cent.

“We do (back him), not that he needs it,” Fletcher said.

“He is a very experienced manager. He knows what he is doing. I am sure we will get the result we need.”

Published: Sunday 27th September 2015 by The News Editor

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