Man United players unfazed by lack of transfer action so far
Phil Jones says there’s no panic at club over inactivity
Phil Jones of Manchester United is tackled by Andrew Kumagai of Yokohama F Marinos during the pre-season friendly yesterday at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Photograph: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images
Phil Jones is clear there is no panic at Manchester United over the fact that David Moyes is yet to make a major signing this summer, with the defender claiming the players believe it is “irrelevant” who Chelsea or Manchester City have already signed.
While Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho has landed Andre Schurrle for £18m, Marco van Ginkle for £8m and the free transfer of Mark Schwarzer, Manuel Pellegrini has spent a total of £86.9m since arriving at Manchester City on Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo. Moyes, though, is still to bring in a significant new player with the Scot considering a third bid for Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, his No1 target.
But Jones, speaking after United’s 3-2 defeat by Yokohama F-Marinos in Japan, said: “I don’t think the lads are too bothered who the players are that other teams are signing. It’s totally irrelevant, we’re just concentrating on ourselves and we know what to do.
“The new season [will be] interesting. Teams have got new managers, I’m sure if we’re anywhere near what we were at the start of last season then we’ll be fine.”
Jones stated that he wants to challenge Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for a starting place at centre-back, stating that this is his preferred position. “Yeah, of course, there’s no hiding. I’ve said all along from day one centre-back is the position I feel most comfortable in but if I’m asked to play right-back or midfield I’ll go and do a job there.”
Jones believes his versatility will not hamper his progress. “I don’t see it as a hindrance at the moment - perhaps later in my career, possibly, but not for now.”
Regarding the defeat, United’s second in three pre-season tour matches, he said: “It was a good workout, disappointed with the result, but it’s pre-season, we can work on these things in training.
“It wasn’t the best of games, we know we didn’t pass it well, we didn’t pass the ball as in previous games but we’ll learn. We’re learning off him and he’s learning off us, come the start of the season I’m sure we’ll be bang on. We know the levels that we can play at. Tonight wasn’t clever but I’m sure we’ll have a good start to the season.”
Moyes has few injury concerns following the match, with Robin van Persie having to be taken off at half-time, Danny Welbeck picking up a problem when entering as substitute and Michael Carrick not in the matchday squad due to a groin issue.
“We’ve got a couple of wee worries,” Moyes said. “Robin just felt his thigh in the first half and we didn’t want to take any chances. Danny Welbeck felt his groin when he came on and we’ve just got to make sure they’re all OK especially with so many games coming up. We’ve still got a few games to play before the season starts when we get back home.
“With Rio, we just decided to give him a rest. I wanted to get Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling a game so we rested Rio. Michael just felt his groin. It’s a bit tight from last night. It’s not anything we can see keeping him out. He just missed training and the game tonight.”
Tom Cleverley pointed to the muggy conditions and United’s long-haul flight from Sydney two days earlier as factors in the defeat. “It was very tough, I don’t want to make excuses but we travelled a long way yesterday and we have come up against a sharp team in hard conditions,” he said.
“I’m sure we can play better, we weren’t really at the races but it was a good workout for us. It will be good for us. You can’t get much better workouts than that. They made us work really hard.”