Phil Jones was determined to remain positive in the wake of Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Playing in midfield after returning to the side following an absence of several weeks with a knee injury, Jones set up the Reds' consolation goal, Javier Hernandez sliding in to turn home his shot and give hope of a late comeback.
Chelsea’s lead, courtesy of a hat-trick from Samuel Eto’o, proved to be too much to overcome but the 21-year-old is convinced the Reds should take heart from a display that had the home side on the back foot until the Cameroon striker’s deflected effort gave them an undeserved lead.
“I don't think we're a long way away from the teams at the top,” Jones told ManUtd.com. “You look at our first half performance today and, barring the two goals we conceded, we were fantastic.
"If Chelsea are one of the best two or three teams in the country, then I think you have to say we can be right up there alongside them – our performance in the first half proves that. We're not a million miles away, I'm telling you, but we need to stick together if we're going to turn it around.”
United enjoyed much the better of the opening exchanges at Stamford Bridge, with Ashley Young forcing goalkeeper Petr Cech into making an important save after just three minutes. The Reds continued to impress until Chelsea snatched the lead with Eto’o’s deflected strike, but Jones