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Phil Jones banned for “abusive language” following Europa League final

It appears United’s central defender told one of UEFA’s doping control officers where they could stick their test tube.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Mystery solved! Jose Mourinho has been experimenting with a central defensive partnership of Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling because, come the European Super Cup, neither Eric Bailly nor Phil Jones will be available.

Bailly we knew about — he was sent off against Celta Vigo in the semi-final last season, and his ban was increased last week — but Jones’ misfortune is new. According to the Press Association, both Blind and Jones got in trouble after the final, when they were asked to comply with anti-doping procedures.

The club have also been fined.

Obviously, the first rule of professional sport is ‘do whatever the anti-doping people tell you to do, even if you don’t really want to’. But the Daily Mail’s Mike Keegan reckons that a little sympathy is due here:

Anyway, it’ll be Lindelof and Smalling vs. Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale, for the European Charity Shield. Won’t that be fun?