Phil Jones: Manchester United can cope without Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

by Tanveer Arayan

Phil Jones insists Manchester United have the strength in depth to cope without Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Man United travel to Middlesbrough for the Premier league clash at Riverside Stadium without key players who have been either suspended or injured in the Europa League round-of-16 win against FC Rostov on Thursday.

While it’s set to be a tough away game, Man United have more than enough quality in their squad to rotate players and accommodate for any absences, as Jones suggests.

Speaking about the team, Jones claims United have what it takes to claim all three points.

“Maybe it wasn’t a sparkling performance the other night, but it was one that was pleasing and positive and we’re through to the next round,” Jones said. “Middlesbrough have just sacked the manager as well so it will probably be even tougher than what it would have been.

“But we’ve got more than enough to cope with that. We have strength in depth in this squad and that’s why we need everyone.

“There is always an added incentive for everyone playing Manchester United as it is, but when you sack the manager it’s even more of a boost for them. Especially for the ones who have not been playing in the squad who can force their way into the team and impress. It will be a tough game, but we need to be ready for it.

“Those 12 o’clock kick-offs can be good if you win as then you’ve got the rest of the day to celebrate and enjoy it,” the defender added. “On the other hand, if you lose, it’s not a nice feeling.

“You spend the rest of the day mithering about the game and going over it in your mind for the next eight hours. We need to make sure we’re ready for it.

“It will be a difficult game. Middlesbrough are among the teams struggling at the moment, but have got good players still. It won’t be easy up there.

“I think the first 15 minutes will be key. It’s a 12 o’clock kick-off and I’m sure they will be ratting about from the first minute.

“We just need to concentrate on winning. Sunday is massive. We all know that. We all know the importance of the game. I would take us playing badly now and winning games.

“If you look at all the times we’ve drawn at home when playing so well, and ultimately we drew, it felt like we’d lost. So points are massive at the moment.”

Although United are missing key players, it’s the mentality the squad should have, as they look to work hard for their place in the first-team.

Man United face a busy schedule of fixtures and Mourinho will be looking to rotate his players and keep them fit.

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