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Manchester United seeking appeal for Phil Jones suspension from the UEFA Super Cup

Manchester United defender Phil Jones was handed a controversial two-match European ban for allegedly ‘abusing’ an anti-doping official at the UEFA Europa League final in Stockholm back in May when United beat Ajax 2-0 to lift the trophy and earn a UEFA Champions League group stage berth, something the club could not do in the Premier League, finishing sixth. Daley Blind was also handed a two-match ban with both players handed a £4,500 fine for failing drug tests after the match, suggest The Sun.

There was nothing to suggest that neither Jones nor Blind were guilty of doping but United were also fined £8,900 for rule breaches. Both Jones and Blind were keen to celebrate with their United teammates after winning the European final, which saw United trophy haul being completed as the club had never lifted the old UEFA Cup despite attempts to do so. The two players also wanted to take part in a dressing room tribute after the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 people two days before the final in the Swedish capital.

Both players gave officials urine and blood samples, but Jones is said to have expressed frustration, which seems to be where the suspensions and respective fines come from. Eric Bailly was handed a three match suspension for being sent off in the second leg of the semi-final against Celta Vigo, missing the final, the UEFA Super Cup and the first UEFA Champions League match of the new season, which will see United without three defenders for the matches, which will see the side at bare bones in defence with Marcos Rojo on the sidelines through injury.

The Daily Mail reported that United will lodge an appeal for the suspension to Jones with United only left with Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Axel Tuanzebe for the match, leaving the defence short on numbers, without drafting in another player from another position to fill in. It is not the best news for United, but if they are considering an appeal, they must feel the suspension and the fine, for at least Jones was harsh, thinking it could be reduced or even scrapped entirely. There is a chance it could be extended though.

Jones was an unused substitute in Stockholm, which seems ironic that he was not needed in that match, but could well be needed in the two matches he will miss if the ban is upheld, which may well be the result of any appeal. Mourinho, speaking after the 2-1 victory over Sampdoria in Dublin on Wednesday evening was asked about the suspension to both Jones and Blind, saying:

“I put yourself in his position. He wins a European cup, he wants to celebrate with his team, he wants to get the cup, the medal, he wants to be in the pictures and one doctor wants to close him in a small room because of doping control.

“I think it’s very hard to control a player in this situation and UEFA should take that into consideration.

“It’s not a normal match, it’s a final and I think it would be easier for the doping control committee to have someone at the pitch with him to see there is nothing wrong with him, just a human desire to celebrate.”

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