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Premier League: Phil Jones says Manchester United can still catch leaders Chelsea

Phil Jones Manchester United
Image: Manchester United defender Phil Jones feels the club can catch leaders Chelsea

Phil Jones says Manchester United have still not given up hope of catching Chelsea despite dropping 12 points behind the Premier League leaders.

United's 11-match unbeaten run came to an end with a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton that meant meant they dropped to fourth spot in the table.

But Jones believes it would be wrong to make a snap judgement on the team's title aspirations based on Sunday's defeat at Old Trafford.

When asked whether the loss meant it would be hard to catch Chelsea or Manchester City, who are eight points ahead of United in second place, the United defender said: "No. You have seen teams dropping points.

"I think Chelsea were clear of City and then two games within the space of a week and they are back in it. That's how football changes.

I think Chelsea were clear of City and then two games within the space of a week and they are back in it. That's how football changes
Phil Jones

"It's up and down. You just never know who is going to drop points. That gives us hope. There's always hope, but we have to worry about ourselves really rather than anyone else."

After 21 matches Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has amassed 37 points - the same number as predecessor David Moyes, who was sacked after 10 months having spent less than half the money Van Gaal had on transfers.

When asked whether United were in a better position to bounce back now compared to last year, Jones added: "Yes. There's a lot of confidence still in the dressing room.

"We have lost the game, the lads are disappointed but you have to move on quickly. You can't dwell on these results. We have done okay over Christmas.

"We would have liked to have picked up two more points against Stoke and Tottenham but now we need to get a bit of a run. Losing is always a little setback but it's nothing more than that.

"We have to look forward to the next game and make sure we get three points. We have been on a decent run and we need to go on a new one."

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Van Gaal's decision to stick with the 3-4-1-2 system despite United's defensive frailties has also drawn fierce criticism.

Jones thinks it was always going to be hard for he and his team-mates to adapt to the new system, but the England centre-back insists he is at ease playing as part of a back three.

"I think we are comfortable playing in it," the 22-year-old said. "It's a learning curve. It doesn't just happen overnight. You don't just click your fingers and you are used to playing in a formation.

"It's like anything. But we are improving in training and we want to get better. We can have a back four or three. We are comfortable with both.

"Sometimes maybe we play a pass in the defence when we shouldn't but we are comfortable playing in both formations the manager has shown.

"We are still improving as a team."

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