West Brom 0 Manchester United 3: Phil Jones hopes United have turned a corner and admits they must win every 'massive' game

Premier League holders are in serious danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League and Jones feels they must win every match left to give themselves a fighting chance

England defender Phil Jones is hoping that Manchester United have turned a corner in their difficult season after scoring in the 3-0 Premier League victory over West Brom, with Jones making a rare outing at centre-back.

Having struggled for consistent form this season under David Moyes, United produced a good response to recent criticism that their season was ending in front of their eyes, although they still face a stiff challenge to reach the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Moyes’ side arrived at the Hawthorns off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Olympiakos in Europe, but bounced back to give United fans hope that their season can be salvaged thanks to goals from Jones, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

United have struggled since the turn of the year, registering just five victories in 13 matches which has also seen them crash out of both domestic cups and face an uphill battle in the Champions League last-16 second leg tie next week.

 

The Red Devils’ manager has stressed the importance that they must now take maximum points in each of their remaining 10 league matches, and Jones agrees that they are up against it to perform week-in-week-out but it has become a necessity given their position.

“Every game is massive for us now,” said the centre-back. “It's got to be the mentality now for the rest of the season, there's no two ways about it.

“Hopefully we've turned the corner but it's game by game for now. The fans expect us to win every week and so do we, so it's been difficult.

“I think the players and the staff have been surprised by how difficult this season has been. But when you pick up results like this it's nice.”

The victory also represented the first time this season that Jones has partnered Chris Smalling at the back. United’s troubles can be identified at centre-back this season, as Moyes has deployed a staggering eight partnerships as he searches for a pairing he can trust to marshal the back line.

Jones and Smalling could well go on to cement down starting berths, especially with Nemanja Vidic on the move to Inter Milan at the end of the season and Rio Ferdinand likely to follow him out of the Old Trafford exit.

It’s something that the 22-year-old would welcome, having been deployed at both right-back and in midfield in a holding role in recent times.

“It's great,” said Jones. “I enjoy playing at centre-half and, thankfully, I got the chance. It was nice to get the win and a clean sheet is a bonus.

“I enjoy playing with Chris. We haven't played that many times together but the more we play, the better our understanding will be and the better our performances will be.”

Jones is not the only one who feels the team have backed themselves into a position where they must produce a result in every match, as Rafael feels that three points is a must in each of their remaining games.

“We need to win every game now,” said Rafael. “We can't play to draw. We've the Liverpool game next, we're 2-0 down to Olympiakos. We have to attack and show everyone our real qualities.

“Sometimes you know you can get away with drawing the odd one but at this point we have to win every game.

“Against West Brom we showed how we have to play in the other games. We played like a team, with everyone fighting for each other.

“Every player here knew things had to change. We know we haven't played well this season but if we play like we did at West Brom we'll have a chance.”

A strong run of matches could help Jones cement his place not only in the United side, but also Roy Hodgson’s England side ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, while Rafael faces a difficult task in returning to the Brazil set-up having not featured since 2012 as the 23-year-old sits behind Dani Alves, Rafinha and Danilo in the pecking order.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam