Manchester United’s  Paul Pogba and Ajax Amsterdam’s Hakim Ziyech vie for the ball during the Uefa Europa League final  at the Friends Arena in Stockholm. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Criticism of Paul Pogba ignores context – no one can run the game in Mourinho’s United

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho leads the celebrations after the Europa League win over Ajax  celebrate winning the Europa League at the  Friends Arena in Stockholm. Photograph:  Andrew Couldridge/Reuters/Livepic

Jose Mourinho’s side back in Champions League after win over Ajax in Stockholm

Wayne Rooney stands with his Manchester United team-mates as they observe a minute’s silence yesterday for the victims of Monday night’s terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.  Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Game takes on symbolic and emotional importance for Manchester United players

Arsène Wenger: as the years passed some fans would shout at Wenger to “spend some f*cking money”. You don’t hear that any more because Wenger does spend money now. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

There has always been a clear time to say goodbye even for the best managers

Football agent Mino Raiola made €49 million from the transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United. Photo: Getty Images

Mino Raiola made €49 million from Paul Pogba’s transfer due to inconsistent system

Liverpool fans hold up a banner with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn before the game against Southampton. Photograph:  Phil Noble/Reuters

Shankly’s club along with the rest of the Premier League are the ultimate neoliberalists

Joey Barton has been banned for 18 months for breaking the English FA’s rules on gambling. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Banned Burnley midfielder right to highlight the link between the media and gambling

Kyle Walker and Christian Eriksen applaud the Tottenham fans at Wembley. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Being praised will be no consolation to Tottenham if they keep missing out on trophies

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Manchester United manager José Mourinho during the Premier League match at Old Trafford. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Manchester United manager’s tactics were once again devoted to nullifying opposition

Lilian Thuram holds up the Euro 2000 trophy two years after  he and his team-mates won the  World Cup for France, a victory that was portrayed in the media as white, black and brown Frenchmen coming together to conquer the world. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Racial unity symbolised by France’s World Cup winners did not survive in post-9/11 world

Sócrates: “I never think about what might happen tomorrow, man, never”

Brazil captain was a self-styled free spirit who fell victim to his own contradictions

Everton’s Ross Barkley pleads his innocence after committing a dangerous foul on Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren at Anfield. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Everton manager’s comments on Ross Barkley reflect reality of Premier League football

 Aiden McGeady battles for the ball with Iceland’s  Aron Einar Gunnarsson during the friendly international at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Martin O’Neill knows he will need his frontliners back for Austria qualifier

Republic of Ireland’s Seamus Coleman holds his shattered leg after a reckless challenge by Wales’s Neil Taylor at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Referee did not send off Bale because he would have been accused of ruining the game

Protesters on their way to Trump Tower: understanding the past, writes Timothy Snyder, gives us the chance “to be responsible: not for everything, but for something”. Photograph: Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty

American democracy is in crisis, and Timothy Snyder’s book is a call to fight back

Wales’ Gareth Bale is booked by referee Nicola Rizzoli after a tackle on  Ireland’s John O’Shea during the World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Referee Nicola Rizzoli could also have sent off Gareth Bale for tackle on John O’Shea

Wales player Gareth Bale in action during a Wales open training session ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Not a personality leader, but it’s obvious he really cares about playing for his country

All grown up: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised some of Liverpool’s players as “outstanding”. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Dignified, sophisticated play in Man City v Liverpool light years ahead of United’s form

Deportivo La Coruna’s  goalkeeper Germán Dario Lux punches clear in  his side’s victory over  Barcelona on Sunday. Photograph:  Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty

Barcelona will be lucky to meet another team that self-destructs like Paris Saint-Germain did

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez warms up during the English Premier League match at Liverpool on Saturday. Photograph: EPA.

Arsène Wenger dropping his lead striker at Liverpool is not giving off a good impression

Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates opening the scoring yesterday: Few players in English football can match his presence and his competitive temperament. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

For many years, Zlatan and English football regarded each other with mutual scorn

If Andres Iniesta had spent his career in teams that required him to run 50 metres on a regular basis, most of us would never have heard of him. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Coach’s system was brutally exposed as world-class individuals were overrun in Paris

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has failed to replicate last season’s form  . Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ranieri had best team last season, not the best players – this time he has neither

Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso scores at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, heading into the net after he elbowed Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín in the jaw as the two players vied for a loose ball. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsenal fans endure the widest gap between what they want and what they have

 Wycombe Wanderers’ Garry Thompson celebrates scoring his side’s third goal against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup fourth round. Photograph:  Darren Staples/Reuters

Premier League has become so rich that domestic cups have shrunk into irrelevance

After the game  Guardiola and Pochettino were  invited to give their views on the   pivotal refereeing decision. They said the same thing, but in very different ways. Photograph: Andrew Yates Livepic/Reuters

Most managers would have looked to shut Spurs down; Pep decided to try to outplay them

Manchester United manager José Mourinho talks to Marouane Fellaini ahead of his introduction  in the game against Liverpool yesterday. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

For all talk of United’s return to former style, in crunch manager opts for brawn over skill

Fifa president Gianni Infantino: His original idea was to expand from 32 to 40 teams, but since then he has decided that 48 teams would work even better. Photograph: Roman Kruchinin/AFP/Getty Images

Mourinho’s reasons for backing 2026 Fifa plans reveal true status of international game

 Georginio Wijnaldum’s spectacular headed  goal against Manchester City was the most visual illustration so far of the positive impact he has had on Jurgen Klopp’s side. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Liverpool manager has transformed a number of players who struggled under Rodgers

 Euro 2016  final: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo kisses the trophy on the pitch. Photograph: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Sports Review of 2016: Ken Early looks back at the major failings of Euro 2016

Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola: Losing is especially problematic for a clever-clogs foreigner like Guardiola in tired-of-experts Brexit Britain. Photograph: Carl Recine Livepic via Reuters

Yet again the Arsenal manager blamed the referee, but his men were simply outplayed

Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane in possession  during his side’s clash with Manchester United yesterday. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur play with great intensity but there’s a problem: team has only one gear

Pep Guardiola: The Manchester City manager reacts to a play during Saturday’s Premier League match against Chelsea.  Photograph: Reuters/Phil Noble Livepic

Pep spurns idea that Premier League is tougher than others, but player quality is an issue

Rainbow flags were carried out at every Premier League match this weekend, the team captains wore rainbow armbands, and the referees wore rainbow laces

Premier League’s support for LGBT community ran into predictable opposition

Wayne Rooney: turned into a national laughing stock simply for doing what millions of others do every weekend. Photograph:  Richard Heathcote/Getty

England striker has been in the stocks for daring to insult the holy ideal of hard work

Republic of Ireland goalscorer James McClean battles with Austria’s Marko Arnautovic at the Ernst-Happel Stadium, Vienna, Austria, during their World Cup Qualifying Group D encounter on Saturday night. Photograph: leonhard foeger/reuters

West Brom player knows now he is good enough for the top level, he has proven it

Ireland’s Seamus Colman celebrates with James McClean after beating Austria in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Vienna. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Under Martin O’Neill there is a steely determination and a willingness to hang in there

 Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring Liverpool’s  fourth goal against Watford at Anfield. Photograph: Dave Howarth/PA Wire.

Should Anfield club sustain current scoring rate, they will win the Premier League title

Manchester United manager José Mourinho during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Burnley at Old Trafford. Photograph: PA.

Basic formula that brought success in the past has been ousted by newer methods

José Mourinho gestures on from the touchline during the match at Stamford Bridge. He said: “We made an incredible defensive mistake.”  Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

He blamed players for Manchester United’s defeat, but what about his own approach?

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

TV ratings for live Premier League games have seen a 19% fall year-on-year

 Wes Hoolahan in action against  Alexandru Gatcan of Moldova in Chisinau. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

McClean adds goals to industry of effort to leave Martin O’Neill with decisions to make

Tottenham’s Dele Alli celebrates scoring Spurs’ second goal against Manchester City at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Tottenham zeroed in on City’s weaknesses, and Guardiola will need to look at his backline

Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich   appointed seven permanent managers before Conte. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Abramovich has continually burdened his Chelsea managers with unreasonable demands

Wayne Rooney: has lost the confidence of the Manchester United crowd. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty

Mourinho has now suffered 16 defeats in 34 games, more than Mark Hughes at Stoke City

Manchester United manager José Mourinho and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola at the end of the derby game. Photograph: Reuters

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City look more tactically coherent than rivals across town

Jeff Hendrick gave Ireland the lead in Serbia after three minutes. Photogrpah: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

Martin O’Neill’s side look far more comfortable when they have got nothing to lose

Ireland’s coach Martin O’Neill during the Euro 2016  match against France  at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium near Lyon in June. The time and expense involved in travelling to Russia means it’s doubtful whether the tournament will attract international fans in numbers comparable to those that went to France. Photograph: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Serbia know exactly what to expect from Ireland and what is an ageing lineup

Republic of Ireland goalscorer Jonathan Walters is tackled by with Oman’s Nadir Awadh Bashir Bait Mabrook last night. Photograph: Reuters

Given the occasion, Oman were probably the perfect opponents for friendly clash

Liverpool’s  striker Daniel Sturridge: “I have to do a job for the team. That’s not saying I am happy to do it. That’s saying I have got to do a job for the team.” Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP

Jurgen Klopp not the type of manager who makes allowances for an injury-prone artist

Joe Hart joins Manchester City’s  substitutes  during Saturday’s win against Stoke. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Manchester City goalkeeper is paying the price for being an old-fashioned shot-stopper

30,000 were at the Aviva Stadium to see Dundalk’s Champions League qualifier, and it was Legia Warsaw’s supporters who made most of the noise. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

30,000 brave the elements as Lilywhites far from outclassed

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring against Arsenal. Photograph: Getty Images

You wondered whether Koscielny would have traded his holiday to be involved

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho explains to Juan Mata why he was taking him off in stoppage time after he came on as a substitute in the Community Shield win over Leicester City at Wembley. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images

‘The hard part is not finding the talent. The hard part is persuading the talent to sign’

 Diana Ross performs at the 1994 World Cup opening ceremony at Soldier Field in Chicago. Photograph: David Cann/Getty Images

When it comes to opening ceremonies the Olympics are the only show in town

Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho  in Beijing. He is in no mood to go along with the fiction that the pre-season  games  mean anything.  Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/

Proposed Pogba price shows the extent the club has to go to to get the players they want

Portugal celebrate Eder’s winner as Antoine Griezmann looks on at the Stade de France. Photograph: Epa

Injured Ronaldo basks in crowning glory as Portugese collective trump fearful hosts

The Punch and Judy show between English fans and French police provided comic relief

Dimitri Payet celebrates with Antoine Griezmann after scoring France’s third goal against Iceland in Saint-Denis. Photograph: EPA

Gulf in class finally exposed as the hosts move on to big semi-final date with Germany

Iceland’s players celebrate their team’s win with supporters after the victory over England. Photograph: Getty Images

Clever management combined with unique Viking spirit has elevated this tournament

 Wales captain  Ashley Williams celebrates after scoring a goal during the Euro 2016 quarter-final match against Belgium  at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in  Lille. Photograph:  Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Kevin de Bruyne’s constant cajoling of team-mates summed up Belgium’s night

England soccer manager Roy Hodgson  announcing his resignation  on Monday after England lost 2-1 to Iceland in their Uefa Euro 2016 clash in Nice, France. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Cycle of dread and resentment perpetuated in rush to condemn and lampoon players

What explained this Spanish lethargy? Well, part of the problem is that Vicente del Bosque has run a boring camp. He picked the same starting XI for all four matches at the Euros. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

After winning major tournaments in 2008, 2010 and 2012, Spain are tired of dominating

Robbie Brady celebrates after scoring a very early penalty for Ireland at the Stade de Lyon. Photograph: Reuters/Robert Pratta

Ken Early: Ireland had nothing left to give yet they won back the people

France’s midfielder Paul Pogba: has reacted to perceived injustice of the French media about his performances. Photograph: FranckFife/AFP

There are still bugs in the French system which is enough to give Ireland some hope

James McCarthy during Ireland’s match against Italy. “Team-mates, family, friends, they were there for me and picked me up.” Photograph: Miguel MedinaI

During and afterwards, the midfielder gave sense of how much Ireland really means to him

Ireland’s Robbie Brady celebrates with his girlfriend Kerrie Harris and his brother after scoring the winner against Italy. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Wes Hoolahan makes full amends for fluffing earlier line to help secure an advance against France

Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper Michael McGovern reacts after the Group C defeat to Germany at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/Getty

Goalkeeper in superb form as they restrict Germany to a 1-0 victory to reach last 16

Ken Early reminds Irish fans to forget not. Photograph: Inpho

Ahead of the last game he must decide whether to keep the faith, or to be ruthless

There was little sign of discord as  Belgium hammered the Republic of Irealnd 3-0.  Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Ireland clearly second best against a Belgium side exuding unity and class

Relations between Belgium’s brilliant goalkeeper and their beleaguered coach seemed rather frosty when they appeared together at today’s pre-match press conference.

Manager Wilmots bats away talk of rift between him and goalie Courtois

 Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their first goal against Slovakia. Bale obviously enjoys representing his country. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Livepic

Real Madrid star stresses his country’s underdogs status as they take on England

Wes Hoolahan shows his close control as the Swedish duo of Oscar Lewicki and John Guidetti close in during the Group E game at Stade de France. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

All over Europe there will have been people thinking – ‘that Irish number 20 is good’

Tempers flare between rival fans at the England-Russia game in Marseille. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

England supporters are the inheritors of a reputation they no longer deserve

Ruassia’s  Vasili Berezutski heads over Joe Hart to equalise against England in Marseille. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Roy Hodgson’s side show dangers of being so inefficient in front of goal

Luka Modric is mobbed after scoring the winner for Croatia against Turkey in Paris. Photograph: Afp

Real Madrid midfielder scores sublime volley to light up a dour encounter in Paris

 Denis Glushakov  makes sure Aleksei Berezutski’s header goes in for  Russia’s late  equaliser   during the  Euro 2016 group B match  at Stade Velodrome  in Marseille. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Aleksei Berezutski’s injury-time header earns side a late draw in Marseille

Chateau d’If: etc photograph: Getty

‘The mascot for Euro 2016... Would a cockerel have been totally out of the question? ‘

Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring during against Manchester United. Photo: Getty Images

The English striker is expected to complete a move from Leicester in the next few days

Mikhail Hardzeichuk of Belarus scores his side’s first goal against Ireland at Turner’s Cross. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Martin O’Neill’s side only really began to find any fluency after several substitutions

Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone has brought club to second Champions League final in three seasons. Photograph: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid coach prefers the humble worker over the extravagant talent

Out with the old, in with the new: Jose Mourinho and  Louis van Gaal.  Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

It’s farewell to Busby Babes glory as football’s new sponsorship era sidelines the sport

Kevin Gameiro wheels away in celebration after scoring Sevilla’s first goal against Liverpool at the St Jakob-Park stadium in Basel last night. Photograph: Michael Buholzer/AFP/Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp’s side fail to impose themselves on game as Sevilla refuse to be bullied

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp:  “I was completely convinced about the quality of the squad, despite the doubts people had.”  Photograph:  PA.

Europa League victory would represent a successful season for Liverpool’s manager

Sniffer dogs search Old Trafford after a suspect package was discovered, leading to the postponement of the match between Manchester United and Bournemouth. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

The fake bomb alert in Manchester highlights how sensitive the game has become

 Pep Guardiola: let’s not pretend what happened at Bayern was anything other than a bitter disappointment for everyone involved. Photo:  Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bayern’s idea was to dominate the Champions League as Guardiola’s Barcelona had

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri with his Manchester United counterpart Louis van Gaal after their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the English Premier League on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters.

Fairytale ending looms ever closer for Claudio Ranieri’s unlikeliest of dreams

Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho and Christian Benteke in the stands during their side’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Newcastle United. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Despite Mamadou Sakho failing a drugs test the mood is one of apathy among supporters

Conor McGregor entertains fans during the UFC 196 weigh-ins at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, prior to his loss to Nate Diaz. Photograph: Rey Del Rio/Zuffa LLC/via Getty Images

They may not like each other but the Irish fighter and UFC can work together

Fifa president Gianni Infantino:  recognises the increasingly important role of the United States iin world football.   Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Thriving MLS, the era of the internet and popular video games all help in sport’s rise

The world’s biggest sport is still the only one where doping doesn’t really feature in the conversation.

Drugs can’t turn you into a good footballer, but they can help turn you into a better one

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Rob Elliot clutches his injured knee as Slovakia open the scoring against Martin O’Neill’s side on Tuesday night. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland manager has built a squad where no one is indispensable – or irrelevant

Ciaran Clark scores the Republic of Ireland’s goal against Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer during the friendly socmatch at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Walter Bieri/EPA

Jack Byrne’s approach was high-risk but not as risky as Kevin Doyle’s as it turned out

Johan Cruyff dribbling past Argentina goalkeeper Daniel Carnevali on his way to scoring a goal during the World Cup quarter-final on June, 26, 1974 in Gelsenkirchen in Germany. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Dutch master was a visionary whose ideas revolutionised the global game

 Rafa Benítez is the ninth manager to take charge of Newcastle since Mike Ashley’s takeover in 2007. Photograph: Biel Alino/EPA

Spaniard’s methods usually take time to bed in and he only has 10 games to save club

Leicester City’s Danny Simpson (left), Andy King (centre) and Jamie Vardy appluad their fans following the English Premier League win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday. Photograph: Getty.

It’s money that matters most in the lottery that is the English Premier League

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the sidelines during the Premier League game against  Manchester United at Old Trafford. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has missed glorious opportunity as fortune has favoured the brave

Jackson Martinez, former Atletico Madrid player, poses for pictures with fans at an airport after he joined the Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC, in Guangzhou, China last month. Photograph:  Reuters

Chinese clubs have been paying enormous sums for some of football’s B-listers

Running for office: Independent candidate Averil Power  canvassing in Artane, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

People voted for change in 2011, but it never happened. Their anger has hardened into disillusionment

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrates his side’s victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.  Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Tottenham boss is from what you might call ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’ school

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