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TEAM UP AND RUNNING

Posted on 24 August 2007  - 12:00

Jermaine Jenas was naturally satisfied to kick-start his season is such emphatic style last weekend but key, according to the midfielder, was the collective performance of the team.

Jermaine Jenas was naturally satisfied to kick-start his season is such emphatic style last weekend but key, according to the midfielder, was the collective performance of the team.After a sluggish start, the team put on the style against Derby County at the Lane, with two goals from Steed Malbranque, a fine solo effort from JJ himself and a first for Darren Bent. The result and display was ideal preparation for the challenge of taking on champions Manchester United on Sunday.

JJ, who fully accepts his own showings were not up to par in our opening two encounters, was understandably far more chipper following his dominant midfield display against Derby.

"I was more than happy with it," said the 24-year-old. "Personally it was fantastic with getting my first goal and putting in a good performance for the team. I was delighted on a personal level, but I thought we were a lot more collective, we stuck together well and I thought Lee Young-Pyo was excellent.

"He didn't get much of a mention at the weekend, but he was like a breath of fresh air and to have him back was a boost," added JJ, who went on to reveal his thought process from picking the ball up on the halfway line on proceeding to open up his goal account.

"My options were open but my first thought when I nicked in midfield was to get forward and look at who was making runs to split their defence open as soon as possible. As I was running the gap seemed to get wider and wider as Benty and Keano pulled off and opened up the space more.

"As soon as I saw that there was no turning back really and I knew they were not going to catch me."

It is Old Trafford next, scene of JJ's spectacular free-kick leveller the season before last. It will be United minus messrs Rooney and Ronaldo, among others, but JJ suspects United do possess the strength in depth to compensate.

"We know it will be a really tough game at United. They are going to be battling themselves and won't be happy with their start.

"They will be feeling it with being a big club like us and would have expected to be in a better position than they are - exactly like we do.

"They have players to bed in, you have to do that with new players as it doesn't just click. Sir Alex Ferguson will get them sorted out, I'm sure, and we've got to be ready for that.

"Of course they will miss people like Rooney and Ronaldo, they are top, top players who have a big influence on their side. You can't write them off though, they have still got an abundance of top players at United who can win a game. We've got to be aware of that, but we will be going out to win it."