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23/11/2011 10:11
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Papers: Jones warns Blues

Matthew Dunn writes in The Express

We will still end City bid
Manchester United have all but given up hope of finishing top of the table in the Champions League, but Phil Jones has warned their City rivals the complete opposite applies in the Premier League. Jones scored his first senior goal on Tuesday night against Benfica. Unfortunately, it was in the wrong net and the 2-2 draw all but ended United’s hopes of topping Group C. A point in Basle next month should be enough to clinch second spot but, in the meantime, Jones and the rest of the team are focused on overhauling the five-point lead Manchester City have built over them on the domestic front. "No game is easy in the Premier League, we know that," he said. "But I am sure if we prepare right and apply ourselves right, we can pick up a lot of points over the next few weeks. City have done fantastically this season, but they have got some tough games coming up. It will be nice to be there at the top of the table by the end of the year and we can achieve that. But that said, I don’t think it is essential. So don’t be writing us off if we are not there by January. It is a long season with a lot of games and I don’t care how good you are, teams can be put under pressure."

Jones is also confident United will qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. "We have more than enough quality in our side to go to Basle and get all three points," he says.

Darren Fletcher is quoted saying the Reds face "an uphill battle" to win the group now. "Basel play good, open, attacking, expansive football and they create chances, so we know it's going to be difficult ," he says. "But we're confident of getting a result there."

And several papers belatedly report that Wayne Rooney is struggling to be fit for Newcastle's visit, with The Mirror said to have learned the striker is "very doubtful".

The same paper claims United are competing with Chelsea, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona for 15-year-old Spanish striker Javier Gonzalez, who plays for fourth division Laredo’s youth team.

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