Phil Jones battles for the ball with Partizan's Umar Sadiq.

Jones: We had to dig deep for the win

Manchester United defender Phil Jones says victory over Partizan Belgrade was hard earned.

The 27-year-old played the full 90 minutes, helping keep a clean sheet, as the Reds won on the road for the first time since March thanks to Anthony Martial’s 43rd-minute penalty.

“They’re never easy places to come these,” Jones told MUTV in his post-match interview. “Anyone who thought we were going to come here and roll them over were very wrong.

“I thought we dug in well, but we conceded too many chances at times, it was open.

“But they’re going to put you under pressure when you come to places like these.”

Jones pleased with Partizan victoryVideo

The central defender, who featured at right-back for the final half an hour as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer switched from three in defence to four, reserved particular praise for two of United’s young players.

James Garner made his first start for United, playing in central midfield, while Brandon Williams won the spot-kick which Martial converted so calmly and claimed the Man-of-the-Match award.

“We dug deep,” added Jones. “I thought Jimmy Garner in the middle of the park, and Brandon, were absolutely outstanding tonight.

“The pair of them, to come into a hostile environment tonight, away in Europe, they should be very proud of themselves.

“It’s a huge experience at such a young age. Both did very well and both look comfortable at this level.

“They’ve got a very big future, the pair of them.”

The Reds now sit top of Group L in the Europa League, with seven points from three games, and a win against Partizan at Old Trafford in two weeks' time will secure progress to the knockout rounds.

Jones said he was glad to come away from Serbia with a positive result and revealed the squad were eager to wrap things up in the group, which also contains AZ Alkmaar and Astana.

“These are the nights you want to play in and be a part of and we got the win and we’ll head on,“ he said.

“We want to get the group tied up as quickly as possible, but there are no easy games in Europe and we’ll treat it like we’ve done tonight and approach it in the right way.”

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