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Phil Jones: United not far off top clubs

Phil Jones has insisted that little separates Manchester United from the best teams in England and is adamant they are not "a million miles away" from challenging.

Mitten: When were United fans last so pessimistic?
Okwonga: Worrying lack of guile and fight
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The defending champions are 14 points behind leaders Arsenal after Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, and are 12 adrift of Jose Mourinho’s side, who sit in third.

And United, who are seventh in the table, have only won one league game against a top-nine team so far this season.

But Jones told United’s official website: "I don't think we're a long way away from the teams at the top.

"If Chelsea are one of the best two or three teams in the country, then I think you have to say we can be right up there alongside them: our performance in the first half proves that.

"We're not a million miles away, I'm telling you, but we need to stick together if we're going to turn it around."

England international Jones, who played in the centre of midfield at Stamford Bridge, took heart from United’s energetic approach in the opening exchanges on Sunday.

He added: "We started really well. I thought in the first 30 minutes we were terrific. We set out and started in exactly the way we spoke about beforehand.

"We took the game to Chelsea, they couldn't get out of their own half and we totally dominated the match from the first whistle. We just couldn't find the goal that we probably needed to kick on from there.

"Then they had a bit of luck for the first goal and we conceded a couple of sloppy ones. Conceding just before half-time never helps. Now we have to bounce back and we have an important game on Wednesday night [against Sunderland]."

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