Phil Jones on Manchester United's fightback against Sunderland: That was the sign of champions
Defender was proud of his team's spirit after 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light
Sunday 06 October 2013
Phil Jones hailed Manchester United's champion qualities after helping them fight back to snatch victory at lowly Sunderland.
United trailed for 50 minutes at the Stadium of Light after the Black Cats, who are still without a Barclays Premier League win this season, took a shock lead.
However, teenager Adnan Januzaj capped his full debut for the club with a stunning double to end a run of two successive league defeats.
Jones told MUTV: "Everyone dug in, it was a great performance and a massive three points.
"We were put on the back foot right from the first minute, and perhaps we didn't get out of the traps as well as we should have done.
"They were fired up, and perhaps we didn't expect it quite as much as we should have in the first 10 minutes. But once we got to grips with the game, I thought we played some terrific stuff.
"That was the sign of champions out there. When your backs are against the wall and everyone's raising questions, a performance like that puts the record straight."
Jones in particular endured a difficult start to the game when his attempted clearance from Emanuele Giaccherini's fifth-minute cross hit team-mate Nemanja Vidic and dropped nicely for Craig Gardner to drill home the opening goal.
It might have been 2-0 within four minutes after Jones was robbed by Gardner, who ran in on goal, but then dithered when a shot or a cross to the supporting Jozy Altidore might have put United in deeper trouble, allowing the defender to make a vital interception.
However, it took a superb save by keeper David de Gea to keep out Giaccherini's 34th-minute header and the Black Cats headed for the dressing room at half-time good value for their lead.
But it was not long before Januzaj took over, guiding home Patrice Evra's 55th-minute cross to level and then smashing a left-foot volley across Keiren Westwood into the bottom corner six minutes later.
Manager David Moyes later confirmed that England had enquired about the Belgium-born winger's potential availability with a series of nations desperate to secure his services, and Jones admitted he can understand why.
Jones said: "He's a massive talent and he's got a lot of ability. If Gareth Bale scores one like the second goal, everyone's raving about it.
"He's a bubbly lad and a fantastic footballer, but he's a level-headed guy as well. He knows what he has got to do, he has to keep his head down and if he keeps playing like that he is going to hit the heights."
Moyes too was delighted with Januzaj's contribution after waiting to throw him in at the deep end.
He said: "This is a boy of 18 years old, this isn't a boy who is even 20 or 21. This is a boy who, when I came in, everybody told me about him.
"We took him on tour, he was terrific on tour, so I knew we had a real talent - and I have got to say, he has got better since he has come back from the tour.
"I have watched him every training session and really, I would have put him in the team three or four weeks ago, but just for different reasons, the moment wasn't quite right."
The victory eased United into the top half of the table, although it was far from convincing as managerless Sunderland turned in a performance of real character until they faded during the second half.
Moyes, however, insisted he was happy with his side's opening 45 minutes on Wearside.
He said: "I thought we played really well in the first half. I thought we played really well except for the goal we gave away. We dominated the game.
"We needed an unbelievable David de Gea save to stop it being two, but I didn't think it was un-Man United. I thought we played well in the first half and I told the players if they played the same way in the second half, they would win the game."
Meanwhile, Moyes confirmed that summer signing Marouane Fellaini is to see a specialist over the wrist injury which kept him out of the game.
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