Despite defeat to Southampton seeing them drop down to fourth, Manchester United will still be able to catch Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, according to Phil Jones.
Sunday evening saw Louis van Gaal's team fall to a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford in what was a toothless display and immediately led to doubts being cast over their possibility of qualifying for the top four and returning to the Champions League next season.
Such a gloomy mood among Manchester United fans is in stark contract to the optimism surrounding the club just a few weeks ago when a ten-game unbeaten run took them third in the table.
Van Gaal was praised for turning things around after the debacle of David Moyes reign, and there were more than a few suggestions that a team building confidence and containing names like Angel di Maria, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao should be considered title contenders.
But two draws away from home to Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City preceded the defeat and now the Dutchman only has exactly the same number of points at the same stage as the man he succeeded.
However, Jones does not believe we should be so quick to write off the Red Devils' ambitions of recapturing the crown they have won 20 times previously. The comedy-faced defender still believes enough points will be dropped by Jose Mourinho's side for them to be caught.
"No. You have seen teams dropping points," he told reporters when asked if Chelsea were no out of reach.
"I think Chelsea were clear of City and then two games within the space of a week and they are back in it. That's how football changes. It's up and down. You just never know who is going to drop points."
Defeat to the Saints meant Van Gaal's team are now 12 points adrift of the Premier League leaders. Jones' optimism that a title tilt for United is still not out of the question must be quite resilient.
The biggest problem is that any chance of winning the title isn't solely reliant on an implosion from the Stamford Bridge club, but United's cross-city rivals too. Manchester City are only two points bend the leaders and are yet to really hit their stride.
Manuel Pellegrini's men have not looked nearly as imperious as they did in the latter stages of last term, which saw them surge past a stuttering Liverpool to claim a second Premier League title in three years.
Hope From History
However, nothing is impossible and Manchester United have come from 12 points behind to win the title before. In 1995/96 Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United side gave up that many points, with the former England manager famously ranting at Sir Alex Ferguson.
Old Trafford have felt the pain of giving up such a lead too; in 1997/98 Arsene Wenger led his side to the top with two games to spare after being 12 points behind at the end of February. Hope springs eternal, Jonesy.
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