Phil Jones on how Manchester United can cover Champions League absence

Phil Jones says FA Cup glory would help to gloss over the absence of Champions League football at Manchester United this season.

Remarkably, Manchester United’s last triumph in FA Cup competition came back in 2004.

They have graced two finals since then, but they have failed to make it that far for eight years.

Having lifted the famous old trophy on 11 previous occasions – a record best alongside Premier League rivals Arsenal – the Red Devils feel they have gone too long without success in English football’s grandest club contest.

They will get the opportunity to right that wrong in 2015, with a first step taken towards Wembley on Sunday when they face League One Yeovil Town in the third round.

Phil Jones says added importance will be placed on each passing fixture, with United determined to make the most of their absence from Champions League competition this season – helping to keep them fresh – and offer their supporters something to shout about at the end of a testing period for all concerned.

The England international said: “It’s going to be a big competition for us this season.

“We are not in the Champions League so there is even more of an expectation to go and put a performance on at Yeovil.

“With not being in Europe, the FA Cup is a trophy we definitely want to win especially as this club hasn’t won it for a long time.”

While silverware would be most welcome at the end of the campaign, a return to the Premier League’s top four remains the top priority for United.

They really should be able to juggle commitments on multiple fronts, though, with injury struggles starting to ease.

Louis van Gaal will also want to make a positive statement at the end of his first seasons at the helm, and a successful day out in the capital on May 30 would certainly help him to do just that.


Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch