Manchester United will pick strong team despite Hong Kong Stadium pitch fears

Manager David Moyes insists much-maligned surface at Hong Kong Stadium does not unduly concern him or players ahead of Kitchee game

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 July, 2013, 12:37pm

Manchester United manager David Moyes promised to send out his best possible squad when his team take on domestic heavyweights Kitchee in an international friendly at the much-maligned Hong Kong Stadium tonight.

Hong Kong is the final destination in the Premier League champions' 2013 tour of Asia after matches in Thailand, Australia and Japan; so far they have only one won game out of four, in Sydney.

But United are likely to prove too strong for the home side with the likes of Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie set to be involved.

The Dutch international will be the home crowd's favourite after his absence from the Arsenal squad that played in Hong Kong last summer. The only player definitely out is Jonny Evans, who is feeling his ankle.

Moyes said earlier last week he was concerned about the pitch conditions at the So Kon Po venue, with the surface taking a hammering over the last few days because of almost non-stop rain and four matches played on it in the Barclays Asia Trophy, but the Scot played down those worries yesterday.

"The weather did not help, but there is nothing people here in Hong Kong could do to make it any better," he said. "The weather was terrible for three or four days as far as I know. It's drying out now, which might make it worse if it became bobbly.

Video: How Barcelona-style football is alive and well in Hong Kong

"But we will play and players have been brought up [to play] on all sorts of pitches - but I do take the point that nowadays the quality of the surfaces tend to be very good."

Remedial work was carried out at the stadium throughout yesterday to avoid the pitch conditions from getting worse.

The weather forecast is mainly fine and hot, apart from a few showers; a source from the organisers said there was no suggestion the match, with only a few hundred tickets unsold yesterday, will not go ahead.

Defender Jones, who was with the manager at yesterday's press conference, said players had been enjoying the tour and were all looking forward to the match before flying back to England.

"We have a massive fan base here and now we want to put a big performance in tomorrow night," said the defender.

"I have enjoyed the tour. We've been to various different countries and seen different sights. It's good to get a good pre-season under my belt. A lot of the lads are excited about the season."

Moyes, meanwhile, is still confident they will strengthen their squad before the transfer window shuts, although he would not confirm whether there would be a new bid for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas after their initial offer was turned down by the Spanish champions.

"I couldn't tell you if there will be another bid," he said. "Obviously we'll take stock and make a decision on what we do next. But we have a good squad already. You can't forget about the quality that's already here."

The game will be a tough test for Kitchee's new coach Alex Gomes, facing the Premier League champions in his first match in charge since replacing Josep Gombau.

Captain Lo Kwan-yee will be absent due to a leg problem, while midfield powerhouse Lam Ka-wai is also unlikely to start through injuries. New striker Juan Belencoso is likely to feature, along with Jorge Tarres.