Uefa approve Rostov pitch despite Mourinho frustration

‘It’s hard for me to believe we’re going to play on that field — if you can call it a field’

A detailed view of the pitch at the Olimp-2 stadium in Rostov-on-Don. Photograph: PA

A detailed view of the pitch at the Olimp-2 stadium in Rostov-on-Don. Photograph: PA

 

Uefa have confirmed that Rostov’s Olimp-2 stadium will play host to Manchester United’s last 16 tie on Thursday, despite José Mourinho’s concerns over the playing surface. The Portuguese slammed the state of the pitch at Rostov’s stadium as one he finds “hard to believe”, as his team prepare for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie. The United manager had indicated he would like the game to be staged elsewhere.

Uefa released a statement on Wednesday confirming the match would “go ahead as scheduled”. The statement 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.”

Mourinho was speaking at the south Russian club having just seen the pitch for the first time. He compared it to the one at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium in the summer when a friendly between United and Manchester City was called off because of concerns over its sandy and loose surface.

Mourinho said: “It is still hard for me to believe we going to play tomorrow on that field, if you can call it a field and I don’t know which team to play [select], really. It’s a very similar pitch to the one in summer in China – we and Man City decided not to play but it looks like we have to play [on Thursday].”

Asked if the game might be postponed or played elsewhere before the confirmation from Uefa, Mourinho said: “I don’t know. I spoke to one Uefa official and he said: ‘It doesn’t matter if one of the players gets injured as they are insured.’”

Rostov’s manager, Ivan Daniliants, has acknowledged that the surface for his side’s first game after the winter break would be difficult to play on. “The pitch is the same for everyone but it will still be a problem,” said Daniliants, who compared it with the one at Wembley for United’s EFL Cup win against Southampton. “In the final of the League Cup, Manchester United played on an ideal lawn – it was like a carpet. When they arrive here, they will be surprised.”

Russia’s Premier League restarted last weekend after its midwinter break and seventh-placed Rostov are yet to host a home match at their stadium. In an effort to try to protect the pitch they will not use it for training before the game, although United were allowed to practise on the surface.

A statement from Uefa said: “In order to protect the pitch from unnecessary damage before Thursday’s match, FC Rostov have agreed to not train on the pitch and have moved their training to the training ground just behind the stadium.”

(Guardian service)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.