Jesse Lingard has apologised for a “totally unacceptable” Twitter post that the midfielder claims was sent by his media team during the Munich memorial service – an explanation Manchester United are understood to accept.
Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of the air disaster that killed 23 people as United’s plane crashed on the way back from a European Cup tie at Red Star Belgrade in 1958.
United stars past and present, along with 4,500 fans, attended a ceremony at Old Trafford to pay their respects, with the ground falling silent at 3.04pm – the time of the devastating crash 60 years earlier.
But at 3.07pm, as the service continued, a reply was sent from Lingard’s official Twitter account to a message about a game of FIFA, leading to an online backlash.
The England midfielder is said to have been angered by the situation and issued a statement blaming a member of his “media team” for the post – an explanation the club are understood to accept given cameras were trained on the players throughout the service.
The offending message has been deleted but the incident raises serious questions over individuals controlling players’ social media channels.
United boss Jose Mourinho is reported to have spoken to Lingard about the incident and reminded him of his responsibilities, while underlining the importance of being careful on social media to the rest of his players.
Lingard’s statement on Tuesday evening read: “A member of my media team inadvertently replied to a tweet this afternoon on my twitter profile during the Munich memorial service at Old Trafford.
“I was unaware as I was attending the service at the time, and don’t condone the post or the timing in anyway.
“The post has now been deleted, and I’d like to apologise for any upset caused, this is totally unacceptable and does not reflect my personality or views on this emotional day.”
Leicester are prepared to take their time reintegrating Riyad Mahrez back into the club.
It is understood the Algeria international missed training on Tuesday after failing to land a deadline day move to Manchester City last month.
The Foxes travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday with Mahrez now expected to miss the game, having sat out the last two matches.
They will hold talks with Mahrez’s representatives but will not rush the former PFA Player of the Year back.
A ‘close friend’ of Mahrez has been quoted saying the winger was depressed after the failed move and it has changed the dynamic of discussions.
Leicester need to be cautious with how they deal with the issue surrounding Mahrez’s health.
Mahrez wanted to leave the King Power Stadium last month, handing in another transfer request following an initial one in the summer.
Leicester stood firm on their valuation though and eventually asked Manchester City for £80million cash.
City’s final offer was £50million plus an unnamed player who they valued at £15million.
Philippe Coutinho’s £142million move to Barcelona from Liverpool and the fact City had just spent £57million on defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao stiffened Leicester’s resolve.
Mahrez also only signed an improved four-year deal in 2016 after helping the Foxes, under Claudio Ranieri, to a shock Premier League title.
He stayed for their Champions League campaign, where they reached the quarter-finals, but now wants to leave.
Mahrez has missed the 2-1 defeat to Everton and last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Swansea.
Boss Claude Puel has remained tight-lipped over the saga and hinted he is happy to prepare for games without the 26-year-old.
He said: “Riyad is not my preoccupation. My preoccupation is about my available players and to keep them in a positive attitude and to continue this good work.
“My only feelings are about my available players and as for Riyad we will see later.”
Chelsea feel a three-day break will help allow the players to return to training refreshed and ready tackle the challenges ahead under manager Antonio Conte.
Italian Conte has found his position in the spotlight following two straight Premier League defeats including Monday’s 4-1 loss at Watford.
Press Association Sport understands that there was no board meeting on Tuesday to discuss the manager’s future.
Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique and Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone have both been linked with Conte’s job, but it is understood there are currently no discussions with any other potential managerial candidates.
The Chelsea players have, though, been given three days off before returning on Friday in the build-up to the home match against West Brom on February 12.
Conte remained defiant when again pressed on his future after the defeat at Vicarage Road, where the home side scored three late goals after Eden Hazard’s fine 81st-minute strike looked to have rescued a draw.
“I’m not worried about my job,” the Italian said, before signalling his intention to continue working to turn the team’s form around.
Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge during the summer of 2016 and swiftly led Chelsea to the Premier League title, winning 30 matches.
However, mounting a successful defence while also juggling the demands of a European campaign has proved testing, with Chelsea now some 19 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Yet despite having also lost 3-0 at home to Bournemouth last week, Chelsea remain in the top four of the Premier League, one point ahead of Tottenham.
Conte has also guided the Blues into the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they will be at home against Sky Bet Championship side Hull, while also soon getting set for a Champions League showdown with Barcelona.
Chelsea backed their manager, who still has 18 months of his contract to run, during the January transfer window by bringing in defender Emerson Palmieri from Roma and France forward Olivier Giroud from Arsenal.
Although the spotlight is very much on Conte’s future, Chelsea defender Gary Cahill maintains the squad needs to be held accountable for the “abysmal” performance against Watford.
“Whatever is decided, the players have to take responsibility. The manager has done an absolutely unbelievable job,” Cahill said.
“This is the worst I’ve felt for quite a while.
“Performance-wise, I didn’t recognise us or myself.
“It was abysmal. It hurts a lot when you come off after a performance like that.
“We just need to keep strong. I’ve been here before at this club – it’s about staying calm.”
Chelsea have, meanwhile, vowed to ban any supporters found to have used antisemitic language or behaviour “which shames our club” during the match at Watford.