After more than 700 days, Phil Jones returned to the Manchester United starting line-up.
It took a freak set of circumstances, with Harry Maguire injured, Victor Lindelof recovering from Covid, and Eric Bailly also not judged to be fit enough to start. Meanwhile Axel Tuanzebe is out on loan and Teden Mengi is preparing to head out on loan.
Jones slotted in alongside Raphael Varane, the player Sir Alex Ferguson had tried and failed to sign a decade ago before turning to him.
The United defender looked to be settled in early on, making a headed clearance to settle his nerves. He then cut out a cross field pass with a sliding interception which demonstrated his sharpness.
These early touches were cheered loudly by the Old Trafford crowd which will have helped Jones too upon his return to the side.
At the end of the first half he made another well-timed interception to deny Wolves a clear goalscoring opportunity, then from an ensuring corner it was Jones who was quickest to close down Ruben Neves to stop him unleashing a long range shot.
It was not the comfortable home fixture Jones or United wanted, with Wolves attempting 15 shots in the first half and looking like a more in-tune side than the home team.
In the second half Jones showed some determination to get forward and win a free-kick after Aaron Wan-Bissaka had given the ball away. This led to Ronaldo scoring, although the goal was ruled out for offside.
Just as Jones and United looked to be heading towards keeping a clean sheet, Joao Moutinho scored a low shot from the edge of the box to give Wolves the lead.
It was probably deserved on their part but felt harsh on Jones, who had played well in central defence along with Raphael Varane.
Jones showed his commitment to the cause in the 94th minute on the edge of the Wolves box as he took a boot to the head as he won a free-kick.
The centre-back made a total of three tackles, two interceptions, three clearances and blocked three shots, making 90 touches in total. He can look at himself with his head held high, even with the disappointing result.
Here is a look at how United fans reacted to Jones’ performance in the 1-0 loss. When other players struggled, he was one who actually came out with credit…
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