Phil Jones: 'People want Manchester United to fail'

United appear to have turned a corner after their shocking start to the season under David Moyes

Defender Phil Jones has claimed Manchester United's critics have been desperate for the Old Trafford outfit to fail this season.

After a woeful start to the new campaign, when they won just three of their opening eight games and found themselves in the bottom half of the Barclays Premier League, United have shoved themselves firmly back into contention.

Sunday's 1-0 win over Arsenal means they are just five points adrift of the table-topping Gunners and within striking distance of Liverpool and Chelsea, while also leapfrogging big-spending rivals Manchester City.

The latter event is particularly significant because City manager Manuel Pellegrini has been given a relatively easy time following his arrival as Roberto Mancini's replacement at the Etihad Stadium.

It contrasts sharply with the scrutiny David Moyes has found himself under at United, but Jones is not surprised that is the case.

"People want us to fail because we have won the league so many times," said the England international.

"Everyone hates the best clubs, it is as simple as that, and United won the league long before I was here.

"We enjoy that. We relish the test we get thrown at us every week."

It has always been the way with United, just as they have always tended to respond when their backs are against the wall, as they have been so far this season.

"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," Jones said.

"We weren't champions for nothing. We thoroughly deserved all the points we got last season."

Much has been made of the fall from being champions by an impressive 11 points to potential also-rans.

After nine games unbeaten in all competitions, it seems the disparity is not quite as large as it had appeared.

For that, United do not just have Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to thank.

Rooney may have earned man-of-the-match honours for his efforts at Old Trafford and Van Persie might have scored the winning goal, but others deserve a mention too.

In an unaccustomed right-back role, Chris Smalling produced an admirable display, making a crucial tackle on Olivier Giroud in the final stages to deny the Gunners forward a clear shooting opportunity.

And Jones won champagne for the sponsors' best player after an outstanding effort, initially in midfield when he went on two searing bursts that unsettled the visitors' back four, then central defence following Nemanja Vidic's unscheduled exit.

"The game needed energy, especially in the middle of the park," said Jones.

"We needed to close people down and make an effort to win the ball back. We made it really difficult for Arsenal to play.

"It was a great game to be involved in. It was a fiesty affair. Tackles were flying in. The crowd were up on their feet. When you get a win like that it just makes it ever so sweet."

Jones' legacy of what first appeared to be a sickening clash of heads with Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was a nasty cut above his left eye.

As it turned out, the pair got off much more lightly than Vidic, who ended up in hospital following his collision with team-mate David de Gea.

Vidic was released from hospital on Sunday night and will be monitored by United medical staff before it is decided whether he can feature in the club's next match, at Cardiff on November 24.

The news would have allowed Moyes to head into the international break in much better mood than he went into the last one.

And Sir Bobby Charlton will not be getting pestered by questions over Moyes' suitability for the job as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.

"There was a little bit of criticism going on but I am pleased I didn't have to answer it because David has done it himself," Charlton told United Review.

"We are not the type of team who can languish in the bottom half of the league and it is promising to see us putting together some good results.

"We have had a lot of publicity from changing manager after so long and I've had the sense that teams have maybe been upping their game a little bit against us. But we have been first-class recently.

"Here we are, creeping up the table again and that is what we want."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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 campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic