Time to knuckle down and take my chances: Phil Jones raring to clean up Manchester United’s shaky defence

By Paddy von Behr

Phil Jones feels ‘fit and strong’ and ready to return to action for Manchester United – much needed defensive cover for the league leaders.

United’s clean sheet against West Ham on Wednesday was their first in 11 attempts and Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have made a habit of conceding early goals this season.

But Jones, who played an important role last season and earned a spot in England’s Euro 2012 squad, is ready to return and make an impact.

“I feel good and fit and strong,” he said.

“Obviously I haven’t played a lot of minutes yet, I’ve had one full game, but I felt good.”

He added: “Now, I’ve just got to knuckle down, train well and when I get the chance perform well.”

United are just one point ahead of rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and face a trip to Reading this weekend.

Jones believes his teammates have been playing well without him in both the league and the Champions League, securing qualification already in the latter.

And the former Blackburn centreback hopes United can kick on after his return and enjoy more success at home and in Europe.

“We’re playing well,” he said. “We’re passing the ball well, creating chances and scoring goals and hopefully the clean sheet against West Ham will spur us on to have more of them.

“We’re in a great position in the league and we’re hoping to kick on and really push up.”

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