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Payet and Hazard the must-have men

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Jones: Mata signing has 'lifted spirits'

Phil Jones revealed the signing of Juan Mata has boosted morale at Manchester United and motivated other players to raise their game.

Juan Mata made his United debut in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Cardiff.
Juan Mata made his United debut in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Cardiff.

Mata, who joined from Chelsea in a club record 37.1 million-pound deal on Saturday, made his United debut in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Cardiff.

And the versatile Jones, who played in the centre of midfield against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, feels the Spaniard has the vision to add another dimension to United.

He said: "It makes an impact in the dressing room when you sign a player of that calibre. He is such a talented player on the ball. He has definitely lifted spirits in the dressing room and especially in training.

"We want to impress and show him that we are what we are, that we are one of the best teams to be at.. He has done well and I am sure he will be a huge asset for us.

"There is no two ways about that. He will be a fantastic player for Manchester United, hopefully for many years to come. He sees the pass that sometimes no-one else sees. If he continues to make them I am sure we will soon be climbing the table."

Strikers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney both made their comebacks against Cardiff after sitting out 11 and five games respectively but Jones argued their absence was not a justification for United's poor results.

He added: "It is no excuse but when you do miss players of that stature you need to find it elsewhere. I think we have done it in certain areas but not in the areas we would like. We are just delighted to get them back and firing again.

"Robin has worked hard to get back. We are delighted to have him, Wazza [Rooney] and Juan."

Jones hopes United's injury problems have been consigned to the past, although he expects midfielders Michael Carrick, who has an ankle injury, and Marouane Fellaini, who is recovering from wrist surgery, to miss the weekend trip to Stoke.

He said: "Bar Fellaini and Michael Carrick, we will be at full strength on Saturday hopefully."


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