From the back pages, March 31: Sunderland ‘part company’ with O’Neill

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Martin O’Neill has been dismissed as Sunderland’s manager following a spell of eight league games without victory and increasing concerns that the club face relegation from the Barclays Premier League. (The Times)

RAFA BENITEZ admitted he gambled with Chelsea’s Champions League hopes in favour of the FA Cup. The interim boss confessed he sent out a second-string side at Southampton to save his top stars for tomorrow lunchtime’s Cup clash with Manchester United. But it backfired as the Blues lost 2-1 while top-four rivals Tottenham and Arsenal both won. (The Sun)

Gervinho picks fine time to breathe life into Arsenal career. Wenger’s men react positively to his conversion from philosopher to enforcer but Reading are so feeble the real test of commitment lies ahead. (The Independent)

Jose Mourinho is returning to Chelsea – and he wants to bring Cristiano Ronaldo with him to Stamford Bridge. (The Express)

Frank de Boer has emerged as the front runner to replace Roberto Mancini at Manchester City. Mancini will shortly face an ­end-of-season review to ­determine whether he is the man to take the Blues forward. (The Mirror)

Rory McIlroy happy with his form as Masters looms. (The Guardian)

Roy Hodgson is facing a potential clash with leading Premier League clubs over the squad he selects for England’s summer friendly internationals including the prestige trip to face Brazil. (The Telegraph)

Rio Ferdinand will be offered a new one-year deal by Manchester United next month and be given the opportunity to extend his playing career into his 36th year. (Daily Mail)