London (AFP) – Phil Jones says beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final would give Manchester United a huge boost as they plot to depose Manchester City as Premier League champions.
The 26-year-old England defender said victory at Wembley on Saturday would raise morale at the club before the players regroup for the start of the new campaign in August.
United finished runners-up behind Pep Guardiola’s men — a significant improvement on last season’s sixth-placed finish — but ended 19 points behind rampant City.
Last year Mourinho provided United fans with the consolation of Europa League and League Cup success — the FA Cup is the last chance this term to secure silverware after the high-profile signings of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.
Jones, though, remains upbeat and believes United are on the right track.
“It will be our last game of the season — if you win that, you finish on a positive note and you go into the next season feeling confident, ready to go and ready to battle again for the title,” he said.
“I really don’t think we’re far away. In another season we might have been challenging. Sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and say that Man City have done ever so well to win the league this year, take nothing away from them.”
Jones, who is likely to be in England’s squad for the World Cup, said experience had toughened him up so nerves will not be a problem at Wembley.
“When I was younger I used to get really nervous before games, so much so that you are almost throwing up,” said the defender, who has been with United since 2011.
“Now I am used to it, I know what to expect. It is exciting — it’s not every day you get to play in an FA Cup final.”