Manchester United finally broke their Premier League home voodoo, as the Red Devils secured their first Old Trafford victory in the league in five attempts – and it was an impressive one at that as Jose Mourinho saw off a spirited Tottenham Hotspur managed by Mauricio Pochettino.
The game ended 1-0, with the goal coming courtesy of a super bit of play between Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ander Herrera, with the latter playing a stunning through ball into the former, who duly smashed home.
However, credit has to go to the defence for keeping things extremely tight throughout, and not giving the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli a sniff.
The manager had praise for a certain duo in particular – both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, who have stepped up tremendously in the absence of Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly who have both been injured.
“I think you are a journalist and you are the one who admits they deserve more. There is a concept sometimes around you that some players deserve more for good and for bad, more headlines than others, but I don’t think they’re worried about that.” Jose Mourinho is quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
“They’re playing well, they’re playing more than ever and better than ever, and now we have a third central defender to rotate. We gave a rest to Jones in Ukraine and now he played against Tottenham free of injury or tiredness; we now have a third central defender in Bailly. Until the end of the year, hopefully we can manage with those three in the two positions.”
What a remarkable turnaround it has been for both of them – but particularly Phil Jones who has barely played any football in 2016. He is turning into that talent that Sir Alex Ferguson believed and invested in, and if he can keep fit, he could well be a mainstay in that back four.
Many expected Marcos Rojo to be sold off over the summer, but Jose kept the faith in the Argentinian, and he’s building a super bond with Jones at the back. Although he doesn’t have the ability to pass the ball out from the defence, he’s a no-nonsense defender who is getting the job done brilliantly.