Friday 30 March 2012
Manchester United defender Phil Jones says Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean should be praised for the way he has turned around the club’s fortunes this season.
Kean has had a difficult campaign with his side in the bottom three for most of the season but Rovers have clawed their way out of the relegation zone with some impressive results of late.
They have won three of their last six Barclays Premier League matches, beating Queens Park Rangers, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sunderland and are fifth in the form table.
"They had a really tricky start to the season and Steve Kean got a lot of stick and came under a lot of pressure," Jones told Manchester United's official website ahead of Monday’s clash between the two sides at Ewood Park.
"He deserves a lot of credit - you don't hear a lot about Blackburn or their manager these days. He has turned it around.
"They will be getting their tactics sorted and we need to be right at the top of our game to overcome that"
- Phil Jones
"He has got the players working the way he wants them. They have picked up a few victories lately and we need to be aware of that going into the game."
Jones joined Manchester United from Blackburn last summer and was in the Rovers starting line-up in May as Sir Alex Ferguson's team claimed the 1-1 draw that sealed a record 19th League title.
The 20-year-old says that achievement was one of the reasons that he made the switch to Old Trafford.
"That is exactly why I left," he added. "I had some fond memories from my time at Blackburn and there are some wonderful people at the club.
"But I wanted to win trophies and become part of a team with a massive background, which United have.
"To lift that trophy at the end of the season would be a wonderful achievement for me."
Manchester United have recorded two wins from 11 trips to Blackburn and as a former Rovers player, Jones knows what makes Ewood Park such a tough place to go for his new club.
"It is a really tough place to go to start with, and it is Manchester United," he said.
"It is a local derby and the build-up is all about pressing and how you can stop them from playing. It will be no different this week.
"They will be getting their tactics sorted and we need to be right at the top of our game to overcome that."