Manchester United and Pogba set for resumption; Day four of Ascot preview
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United meet in the Premier League tonight. File photograph: Getty Images
Manchester United resume their Premier League campaign against Tottenham in London tonight in a key battle for Champions League qualification. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is confident Paul Pogba can finally show his “world-class” ability after an injury-blighted season: “I can see his mentality and focus now that he is fit and training and available. He is one of the best midfielders in the world so hopefully we can get that going as soon as possible.” While Spurs manager José Mourinho has accused the football authorities of double standards over the decision to ban Dele Alli for an ill-judged social media post about coronavirus but ignore much worse behaviour from others in the game during the pandemic. United v Tottenham kicks off at 8.15pm on Sky Sports and follows Norwich v Southampton at 6pm (free to air on Sky). Malachy Clerkin asks in his column this morning, could sport without fans actually be better? “It is an entirely pleasant change not to have to listen to braying crowds boo the referee after every 50/50 tackle. Players seem to be getting up and getting on with things a bit quicker too, now that there’s no crowd noise to milk.” Click here for Emmet Malone’s interview with the FAI’s interim chief executive Gary Owens about working his way through the association’s problems and resuming the Airtricity league.
Stradivarius confounded fears soft ground might scupper his chances of a Gold Cup hat-trick with a spectacular romp around a behind closed doors Ascot. The John Gosden trained star joined Sagaro as a hat-trick hero in the historic stayers championship and is as low as 13-8 to match Aidan O’Brien’s ultimate Gold Cup champion, Yeats, by winning a fourth in 2021. Jessica Harrington turns to Tom Marquand, the rising star of the British jockeys room, for Millisle in Ascot’s Group One feature today (3.35pm). Millisle drops back to six furlongs for the Commonwealth Cup after failing to fulfil classic ambitions in the 1,000 Guineas.