English Premiership

Jones eyes EPL bounce back

2014-03-20 17:30
Phil Jones (AFP)

Manchester - Manchester United defender Phil Jones hopes their Champions League comeback against Olympiakos will revive the team's stuttering English Premiership campaign.

Faltering champions United will be 15 points adrift of the top four by the time they kick-off against West Ham on Saturday if Arsenal and Manchester City win their games earlier in the day.

But United will go into the match on the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 home win over Olympiakos on Wednesday that secured a 3-2 aggregate victory over the Greek side that took the English giants into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"I think the Olympiakos game has got to be a springboard for us," Jones said. "It was a huge night. We have to use this as an impetus to go and prove that we can win game after game.

"We let ourselves down on Sunday so it was good to get the win for us and the fans," he added.

"They have something to smile about now and hopefully we can kick on."

United's win was timely after a shock 2-0 loss in Greece that shone a harsh spotlight on manager David Moyes and then suffered the embarrassment of a 3-0 defeat by arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford last weekend.

"We have all had criticism and we're in it together," England centre-back Jones said. "We're a team, the manager and the staff, and we've got to band together and come through this difficult period, and we will do."

United are in a Champions League last eight also featuring Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain and English rivals Chelsea.

However, Jones said United had no preference for their next opponents in the Champions League, the last tournament they have a realistic chance of winning this season,

"We're just happy to be in the next round," he added.

"We left ourselves with a difficult task after the first leg but we came through the test with flying colours and we are excited about the next round."

However, the one downside in Wednesday's win that hat-trick hero Robin van Persie was carried off on a stretcher with a knee injury.

Moyes said after the game that van Persie's injury was "hopefully not too bad" and Jones added: "Hopefully he (van Persie) will be fit for Saturday and he can score a few more (goals at West Ham).

"He is terrific. He pops up with important goals in big matches and he did that again (against Olympiakos)."

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16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 18:30
17 August 2014
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 14:30
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 17:00
18 August 2014
Burnley v Chelsea, Turf Moor 21:00
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