Jamie Redknapp: Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are the reason Man United have performed so well

by Leo Nieboer

Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has claimed the presence of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones serves as the main reason behind why Manchester United have performed so well in recent weeks.

The pair both begun the season as fringe players, with Jose Mourinho opting for a centre-back pairing of Eric Bailly and Daley Blind instead.

However, since Man United’s 3-1 win over Swansea in early November, the pair have started every Premier League game – maintaining an unbeaten record in the process.

Redknapp, writing for the Daily Mail, claimed that such a successful centre-back pairing has given Mourinho’s men a platform to inflict damage.

“I wouldn’t have put Rojo and Jones together and I think Jose Mourinho will look to bring in another centre back,” he said.

“They are both prone to the odd mistake – in Rojo’s case he has been reckless with a couple of two-footed challenges recently – but they have been defending brilliantly and helping United win hard games.

“United are unbeaten in the seven games the pair have started together.

“You only need to look at Chelsea to see that when your defence is solid, your forwards are under less pressure and are less likely to panic in front of goal.”

Mourinho, ever since his days as Porto, has garnered a reputation for turning lukewarm defenders into thoroughbred warriors. Injuries to Bailly and Chris Smalling, alongside the 53-year-old’s natural preference for physically imposing, no nonsense defenders, has played into the hands of Rojo and Jones.

In previous years the pair always espoused an air of uncertainty, as if uncomfortable in their own skin – perhaps afraid of the repercussions that would come if they made the slightest mistake. Under the Special One, however, the two project a formidable sense of control and purpose, growing in stature with every game.

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