Well that certainly didn’t go to plan for Manchester United. After seeing both Chelsea and Arsenal drop points in the race for the top four following their 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, the Red Devils had a superb chance to really lay down a marker to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
But in yet another damaging blow for those chances, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men slipped to an embarrassing 2-0 defeat at home to Burnley. Their defence didn’t look up to scratch, conceding two goals from the only two shots on target the visitors had.
Phil Jones was drafted into the starting line-up following Victor Lindelof’s absence from the match-day squad, and the Englishman hardly covered himself in glory. As per Sofascore, he completed just one of his six attempted long balls, committed two fouls and lost possession 15 times.
And after seeing his performance, United fans took to Twitter to voice their thoughts on the 27-year-old.
Whenever Phil Jones is playing united do concede. Jones is a terrible defender #manutd
— Zarak Aman (@stzarak) January 22, 2020
Hope Phil Jones would give up his football someday. Only way we can restrict him from starting eleven.#MANBUR
— Hasib Chowdhury (@Pritom_MUFC) January 22, 2020
Phil Jones is calamity when he’s on the pitch this season Utd lose can we give him away for free Mr woodward #sackedwoodward
— Peter kiarie (@peterk_njoroge) January 22, 2020
A couple of fans expressed how they couldn’t quite believe Jones is still playing for them after all these years.
How on earth has Phil Jones being at MUFC since 2011, its not Ole’s fault that JOSE, LVG, MOYES all failed to get the turkey outta MUFC. Ole’s signings (exc Maguire) & RASH have been our shining light this season. #OleOut isn’t the way.
— Akintayo Adekunle Adams (@callme_damz) January 22, 2020
Phil Jones is still playing for Manchester United 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/L3QVIKOyNR
— Duke of Peckham (@dukeofpeckham) January 22, 2020
Another couple of supporters of the Manchester side brought Chris Smalling into the conversation, and wondered how the decision was made to let him go before Jones.
It’s actually beyond a joke now, Phil Jones was kept and given a new contract, while they let smalling go that is a sackable offence on its own.#oleout
— Brian O Mahony (@bomberogie) January 22, 2020
It was a baffling decision to keep Jones and send out Smalling on loan https://t.co/qe9BvTcA1j
— Nick the Red (@UnitedFever) January 22, 2020
A home clash against Burnley may have been seen as the perfect opportunity for United to register all three points and close the gap on Chelsea in the race for the top four. Instead, the Red Devils suffered the ignominy of defeat to Sean Dyche’s men, and both of the goals they conceded were certainly avoidable – not least the Clarets’ opening strike that came from a free-kick inside the centre-circle.
Whilst there were no glaring errors on Jones’ part, the best defences are built on partnerships and communication. And Lindelof’s absence from the team meant he had to deputise in the Swede’s absence, and he didn’t look at all comfortable with the task at hand. Some of the attention may be on attacking reinforcements, but a new central defender may have to be on the agenda too.