Manchester United will have to deal with a plastic pitch in their Champions League opener, but Young Boys boss Gerardo Seoane does not expect it to pose too many problems for Jose Mourinho’s men.
United will look to kick-off Group H with victory in Bern ahead of tougher challenges against Valencia and Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Juventus.
But Wednesday’s opener could well prove tricky for the visitors, with the fact in-form Young Boys will want to make a mark on their Champions League group stage debut compounded by the Stade de Suisse’s plastic pitch.
Mourinho and his players have dealt with their fair share of pitch issues over the years, particularly in the triumphant Europa League campaign of 2016/17, and the Swiss side do not expect it to throw United off-kilter.
“We can’t change the pitch,” head coach Seoane said on the eve of the game.
“It’s clear they are not used to pitches like this, so in the beginning I guess it will be a special feeling.
“But with training tonight (Tuesday) and the warm-up I think they will be all right.
“They have the quality, speed and technique to play on this pitch, so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”
The pitch is not the only problem United face in Bern as Mourinho looks to win his first game in Switzerland, where Basel inflicted a shock 1-0 defeat in last season’s group stage.
“It would be nice if it continues,” Seoane said of the run. “But we focus on ourselves and of course we’re playing against a very good team.”
YB boss Seoane wants his players to display courage and focus on the weaknesses he has highlighted, but the challenge that awaits is clear.
Among the stars at United’s disposal is Romelu Lukaku, who hurt Young Boys in their most recent encounter with English opposition in 2015.
The 25-year-old netted a hat-trick as Everton won 4-1 at the Stade de Suisse in the Europa League, before grabbing a brace as the second leg of the last-32 clash ended 3-1.
“Normally, it is the players who score the goals we need to look out for,” Seoane added. “But I can see eight players who can score goals in that team, so it’s not just one player.
“The defence needs to work together and defend close. That’s more important than one player.”
- Press Association