Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has praised Phil Jones’ return from injury after fearing for his career.
The defender suffered a blood-clot problem and also foot and ankle setbacks during the past two seasons, prompting alarms that he would never be the same player again.
However, after injuries to Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling, Jones has started the last four games and the United manager believes the 24-year-old is back to his best.
“His condition looks very good and his confidence is up. He is playing really, really well — no mistakes in 90 minutes — and I’m really happy for the team as the team is the most important thing,” Mourinho said according to The Sun.
“But I’m happy for him when so many people were thinking about him being injury prone and that it would be difficult for him to get back to his level.
“I have to confess, when he was injured again at the beginning of the season, even I was feeling that fear.”
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) November 27, 2016
Jones’ form has seen him turn back the clock when he was touted as the next John Terry whilst at Blackburn Rovers and Mourinho seemed to take a slight dig at Pep Guardiola’s philosophy at Manchester City – and John Stones in particular.
“It is difficult to compare players. Jones is faster than John; John is better in the air than Jones,” the Portuguese added.
“They are different players but what I like is defenders that enjoy defending. Jones likes to defend, as a defender. Sometimes defenders now think the most important quality is to build from the back.
“That is not the most important quality. The most important quality is to defend. Then, if you can add quality in the build-up, you become a very good player.”
The Red Devils will be hoping that Jones’ form coincides with their rise up the table.
United are currently sixth in the league and 11 points adrift of Chelsea at top. However, with four home draws in a row, they will be optimistic they can start winning games and aim for a serious title push.