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Manchester United fires coach Jose Mourinho

SOCCER

Manchester United fires Mourinho

Wanted: A coach to restore Manchester United to its former status as a major force in European soccer.

It was a task that proved beyond even Jose Mourinho.

United brought an end to Mourinho’s turbulent 2 1/2-year spell at the storied English club by firing him on Tuesday, an inevitable move that follows a pattern of bitter endings at the Portuguese coach’s recent teams.

“Be careful,” Mourinho said to reporters and photographers through the open window of a car that whisked him away from the city-center hotel where he lived throughout his time at United.

Indeed, these are worrying times for both United, which is arguably at its lowest point since the departure of long-time manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, and Mourinho, whose illustrious coaching career is at a crossroads as critics question if his abrasive approach, on and off the field, still suits modern-day soccer.

United said it will not hire a permanent replacement for Mourinho until the offseason. The club will soon appoint a caretaker manager for the remainder of the season and a page on United’s website suggested it will be former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The end for Mourinho at English soccer’s most prestigious club came two days after a 3-1 loss at fierce rival Liverpool, the latest reminder of just how far United has slumped behind the top teams in the Premier League and Europe.

It was a result that left United sixth in the Premier League, 19 points off the lead after 17 games and, perhaps more significantly, 11 points off the top four in the race to secure Champions League qualification for next season. It is United’s worst 17-game start to a league campaign since the 1990-91 season.

BASEBALL

Descalso, Cubs agree

Infielder Daniel Descalso and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a two-year, $5-million contract that includes a club option for 2021.

The 32-year-old hit .237 with 22 doubles for Arizona last season. He set career bests in home runs (13) and RBIs (57) while playing in 138 games, his most since 2012.

Twins to retire Mauer’s No. 7

Minnesota will retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7 jersey next season, moving swiftly to honor the six-time All-Star who retired after a 15-year major league career.

The Twins surprised Mauer with the announcement while he was being celebrated at an all-student assembly at his alma mater Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday.

Mauer will become the eighth former Twins player or manager with a retired number, joining Harmon Killebrew (3), Rod Carew (29), Tony Oliva (6), Kent Hrbek (14), Kirby Puckett (34), Bert Blyleven (28) and Tom Kelly (10). Jackie Robinson (42) has had his number retired by all major league teams.

Oliva, Hrbek, Blyleven and Kelly entered the gym during the ceremony. Hrbek took the podium and turned to Mauer to reveal the news.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Big East represents

The Big East Conference will represent USA Basketball for the 2019 Pan American Games, beating out the other Power Five conferences for the honor.

Instead of bringing players together from across the country, officials from the NCAA and the national governing body decided to designate one Division I conference to represent the United States at the tournament traditionally held the year before the Summer Olympics.

After reviewing bids from all the major conferences, the Big East was announced as the choice to compete at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, Aug. 6-10.

The United States hasn’t won the Pan Am Games in basketball since the 1983 squad featured North Carolina sophomore Michael Jordan.

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