Phil Jones was one of the Manchester United players hammered in the wake of the defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League last weekend, but he responded superbly with a solid performance against Olympiakos last night.
While Jones produced a competent display of defensive football, the £25 million rated Mats Hummels didn’t have his best night on the job for German giants Borussia Dortmund.
United have been linked with a £25 million move for the BVB star but last night, Jones outperformed him in a number of areas as Hummels went to sleep allowing Zenit St Petersburg to score the winner in Germany. Fortunately for Jurgen Klopp, the mistake didn’t cost his side over the two legs.
Jones was put under immense pressure towards the end of the game against Olympiakos, producing eight effective clearances which eclipsed the five that Hummels produced for Dortmund.
Jones also read the play more effectively, stepping in to make three interceptions compared to the two that Hummels produced. That shows a real desire, concentration and urgency on Jones’ part to make up for his lacklustre display against Liverpool last weekend.
Jones also had the highest accurate passing percentage out of all his Manchester United teammates, with 92% of the ball which is substantially ahead of the 78% produced by Hummels.
What makes that stat all the more damning on the part of Hummels is that he made the third highest number of passes in the whole BVB side suggesting he was particularly wasteful on a night where Klopp needed him to produce a tight 90 minutes of football.
To cap off the difference between the pair last night, Jones won five times as many aerial duels as Hummels did over the two matches, making it difficult for Olympiakos to hit United over the top or to hurt them from set pieces.
It’s a blip on Hummels’ part because he’s otherwise a very consistent player and someone United fans showed a desire for the club to sign when we ran a poll earlier on in the season.