Manchester United received a boost when it was revealed that defender Phil Jones will be available for the crunch clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Jones, who became a regular starter under Jose Mourinho this season, limped off during the last weekend clash against Huddersfield Town. It was a defining moment of the game as his replacement Victor Lindelof struggled to have the same impact. In fact, he was directly responsible for one of the goals.
The England defender was an unused substitute in the Carabao Cup clash at Swansea City on Tuesday night. Not that he would have featured, but the presence of Jones on the bench is a relief for the gaffer.
Mourinho is under pressure after two dour games turned the tables on United. After matching Manchester City goal-for-goal this season, the 0-0 stalemate at Anfield was a roadblock. More than the loss of points, it was the defensive mindset that was criticized by fans and critics alike.
It went from bad to worse as the Red Devils slumped to a 2-1 loss at Huddersfield. The result left United five points behind leaders City and above Tottenham only on goal difference.
Jones is crucial for this fixture
That makes this weekend encounter crucial as Mourinho looks to get the title charge back on track. There is a certain section which believes that the title destination is a foregone conclusion but the Red Devils would want to prove them wrong.
It is a long season and with just nine matches played, there is so much to be gained and lost. Mourinho will need his squad fit and raring to get back into the title mix. And, Jones is a crucial link in his team.
The 25-year-old has been the cornerstone of United’s back four so far, this season. With Eric Bailly currently out injured, it is vital that he gets back to full fitness – especially after seeing Lindelof struggling to settle yet.