Rostov pitch 'may not be in perfect condition', but Man United match will go ahead

Rostov pitch 'may not be in perfect condition', but Man United match will go ahead

Manchester United's Europa League clash at Rostov is going ahead despite Jose Mourinho being irked by a pitch that UEFA believes is playable but not perfect.

Having described the last-16 tie as a '"bad draw in every aspect'', the United manager's feelings only worsened upon inspection of the Olimp-2 stadium surface ahead of the first leg.

Mourinho compared the pitch to the Bird's Nest quagmire that saw United's money-spinning pre-season friendly against Manchester City in Beijing called off last summer.

But United will have to play on this sandy, loose surface as UEFA has confirmed the last-16 first leg will go ahead as planned.

A statement from European football's governing body to Press Association Sport read: "A pitch inspection has been carried out by the match officials on Wednesday.

''The playing surface may not be in perfect condition, but has been deemed playable. The match will go ahead as scheduled.''

Such news is unlikely to surprise Mourinho given United have already made the long schlep to Russia, yet it will no doubt stick in the craw given his misgivings ahead of the tie.

''It's still hard for me to believe that we are going to play (there),'' United's visibly-angered manager said at the pre-match press conference.

''I know that we have to, but it is hard for me to believe we are going to play (on Thursday) on that field - if you can call it a field.

''And I don't know what team to play, really. I don't know if Henrikh Mkhitaryan is going to play, I don't know.

''I have now a lot to think (about) because I was expecting something more playable.

''In a very similar pitch in the summer in China, we and Manchester City decided not to play. But it looks like we have to play.''

This is not the first time Mourinho has been irked by UEFA's decision to deem a surface playable in United's Europa League run.

The Portuguese was not happy with the governing body for making United play the group-stage decider at Zorya Luhansk on a frozen pitch and was unimpressed by the surface in St Etienne last month.

''I didn't have any contact with anyone until now (about the pitch),'' Mourinho said of his communication with UEFA before the press conference.

''I just had a quick contact with one gentleman from UEFA when I was looking at the pitch.

''And when I told him about my concerns, the gentleman just told me: 'the players are insured, if something happens no problem'."

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