Rock-hard Rostov pitch gives Jose Mourinho Uefa Europa League headache
Manchester United manager unhappy with the hard and patchy playing surface being used for his side’s tie
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is unhappy with the hard and patchy playing surface being used for his side’s Europa League tie at FC Rostov’s Olimp-2 stadium but the Portuguese has received little sympathy from Uefa over the issue.
United play the Russian side in a Round of 16 first-leg encounter on Thursday, in what will be only the second competitive game at the stadium since the Russian League resumed after a long winter break.
“I just had a quick contact with one gentleman from Uefa when I was looking at the pitch,” Mourinho told reporters ahead of the game.
“And when I told him about my concerns, the gentleman told me the players are insured – if something happens, no problem.
“It’s hard for me to believe we are going to play on that field, if you can call it a field.”
Mourinho, who has Zlatan Ibrahimovic available despite the striker’s three-match domestic ban for violent conduct, and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan back after a two-match absence, said the pitch had presented him with a selection dilemma.
“I don’t know which team I will play, I don’t know if Mkhitaryan is going to play,” he added. “I have a lot to think because I was expecting something more playable.”
After the Europa League tie, United return home to face Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Monday.