Hatred for Manchester United has driven team on after difficult start to the season, reveals Phil Jones

People want us to lose because we have won the league so much

The Manchester United defender Phil Jones has said that his team-mates have been motivated by the relish with which rivals have greeted their indifferent start to the season, claiming that many in the Premier League want the defending champions to fail.

Jones was excellent for United in their 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Sunday, both in midfield before the break and then as a replacement for Nemanja Vidic in the centre of defence in the second half. He was cut above the eye during the game but is expected to report today to join up with Roy Hodgson’s England squad at St George’s Park for the friendlies against Chile and Germany.

“People want us to fail because we have won the league so many times,” Jones said. “United won the league long before I was here. Everyone hates the best clubs, it is as simple as that. We enjoy that. We relish the test thrown at us week in, week out.

“It proves when people doubt us we are more than capable of standing up for ourselves and proving to people that is why we were champions last season. We weren’t champions for nothing. We thoroughly deserved all the points we got last season. This is a step in the right direction, going into a busy period.

“It would have been difficult [to have won the league had they lost to Arsenal], but look at the season before last when we were a long way clear of Manchester City. They turned it around. Anything is possible in football. You could never write us off. But full credit to the lads. Everyone put in a shift and dug deep. We thoroughly deserved the three points.

“The gaffer [David Moyes] set us up in a certain shape all week. He went round individual players and prepared us really well. It has shown that has worked.”

It is a curious feature of Jones’ international career that, in eight caps, for only six of the 490 minutes he has spent on the pitch has he played at centre-back – the position originally regarded as his best. At Old Trafford on Sunday it will have been his second-half performance in particular that caught the watching Hodgson’s eye.

Jones has played there once for England, six minutes at the end of the friendly against Scotland in August as a replacement for Phil Jagielka. Previously he had featured as a right-back, most notably on his debut against Montenegro in the Euro 2012 qualifier in Podgorica in October 2011 and against Norway in one of the warm-up games for a tournament at which he did not figure.

Otherwise he has been shunted around the midfield, although he has played there in some big games for England. He was in the team for the wins over Spain and Sweden two years ago and then again in the draw against Brazil in the Maracana in June. In his two other substitute’s performances, against the Netherlands last year and the Republic of Ireland in May, he has come on at right-back.

Yet Moyes has chosen to play him at centre-half this season: against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup, Real Sociedad in the Champions League and Sunderland, Stoke City and Southampton in the Premier League. It begs the question whether the England manager will be tempted to see whether Jones is worth a run in the centre of defence in the two forthcoming friendlies against Chile on Friday and Germany four days later.

Hodgson has picked nine defenders, five of whom are specialist full-backs and two of whom – Gary Cahill and Jagielka – are centre-halves. The final two are Chris Smalling and Jones, suggesting that the latter may get some more time in central defence.

News
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
news

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game