Phil Jones thinks Sunday's victory against Arsenal proved a few doubters wrong as Manchester United closed the gap on the Gunners to five points with a hard-fought 1-0 success.
The England international started the game in midfield before reverting to centre-back after Nemanja Vidic was injured. Outstanding in both positions, the 21-year-old reckons a number of pundits were waiting for the champions to fail, particularly after the Reds' slow start to the season.
"It proves when people doubt us, we are more than capable of standing up for ourselves and proving to people that is why we were champions last season," Jones asserted to PA Sport. "We weren't champions for nothing. We thoroughly deserved all the points we got last season. This is a step in the right direction going into a busy period.
"People want us to fail because we have won the league so many times. United won the league long before I was here. Everyone hates the best clubs, it is as simple as that. We enjoy that and relish the test we get thrown at us week in, week out."
Jones feels the Reds merited the win over the Gunners despite having to defend for long periods of the second half.
"Everyone put in a shift and dug deep," he added. "We thoroughly deserved the three points. The gaffer set us up in a certain shape all week. He went round individual players and prepared us really well. It has shown that has worked.
"It was one of those games, no matter where you play, it was just a great game to be involved in. It was a feisty affair with tackles flying in and the crowd were up on their feet. When you get a win like that, it just makes it ever so sweet."