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

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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?