Manchester United centre-back Phil Jones has admitted that the team were a ‘laughing stock’ under former manager Jose Mourinho, but insisted that the club is now on the right path.
Mourinho was sacked by the club in December with United in sixth place in the Premier League and 11 points adrift of the top four. But under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jones believes everyone now has to ‘take them seriously’.
As quoted by Goal, the defender who this week signed a new four-year deal said: “Everyone’s got to take us seriously now. We might have been a bit of a laughing stock at the beginning of the season but we’re certainly not now.
“We’ve proven that in the last 10 or 12 games. We’re improving, we’re still getting better.”
Paul Pogba played a huge part in Mourinho’s Manchester soap opera and his form in particular under Solskjaer – scoring eight goals in 10 games – is a shining example of the team’s improvement following the restraints of old regime.
“It was tough for everyone involved. The club, the supporters, everyone. But it’s about becoming stronger and seeing that through,” Jones added.
“I’ve said it in the past, we’ve not achieved anything yet, we’re under no illusions but we’re heading in the right direction.”
The England international defender has said that the turnaround in United‘s form and performances wasn’t a surprise for him, adding: “We knew we could get into the top four. It’s a big statement from where we were. We just need to keep improving and keep picking up points.
“Consistency is key in any sport and it’s no different here. We’re putting a run together, we need to keep momentum going and pick up points.”
The Red Devils are now in fourth place, a point ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea and have a huge month ahead on three fronts, as Solskjaer prepares for the visit of Paris Saint-Germain for the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday.
United will then travel to Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup fifth round tie against Chelsea on Monday before a home match against title challengers Liverpool the following weekend, but Jones is unfazed by the upcoming fixtures.
“It’s a tough period coming up, but these are the games you want to play in, the games you want to be available for. Bring it on!”