Phil Jones has insisted Manchester United must get to the Capital One Cup Final
Manchester United’s England defender Phil Jones has put in stark focus the Red Devils’ desperate need to turn around their crumbling season by clinching an aggregate Capital One Cup Semi-Final win against Sunderland.
Ahead of Wednesday evening’s second leg of the semi at Old Trafford, where United must overcome a 2-1 deficit from the first leg to set up a Wembley clash with arch rivals Manchester City, Jones insisted: “We have to get to that final.”
The swagger that in the past was United’s trademark has been hijacked by City, who swept to an aggregate 9-0 Semi-Final demolition of West Ham United with a more than comfortable 3-0 second leg victory at Upton Park on Tuesday night.
While City have been tearing teams apart United’s grasp on the Premier League title is slipping – they sit 11 points behind leaders Arsenal – and they are both out of the FA Cup and viewed as rank outsiders to win the Champions League.
The Capital One Cup represents their best chance of success in a transitional season, so far in which new manager David Moyes has been finding the going tough as he leads the club into their post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who is hoping to increase the pressure on Moyes by knocking United out of the Capital One Cup, voiced the view of many when he reckoned, “David took the most difficult job in the world after Sir Alex left.”
But despite his empathy for former Everton manager Moyes, Poyet added as he looked ahead to the second leg: “It could be a must-win for them but we’re not going to go there to feel sorry for them, we are going to go there and do our job.”
Moyes knows only too well the situation but pledged: “We will try and do everything we can to get through. I want to give the supporters something to cheer about. There has not been an awful lot, I am fully aware of that.”
Jones also wants to give supporters something to cheer. “They've not had the easiest of times this season,” he said, “but they've stuck by us. That's important. We all need to stick together – fans, players, staff – and we'll come out stronger.”
Winning the Capital One Cup could be crucial to that process, stressed the 21-year-old defender. “It was always massively important to us,” he said. “We want to win every competition – now we have to go out and produce the goods.”