Manchester United face FC Rostov this evening in the first-leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
United coach Jose Mourinho complained about the quality of the pitch before the game, but his side had the benefit of a strong wind for the first half.
"I know we have to beat Rostov at Old Trafford to reach the quarter-finals but we can not go with a Nicky Butt team because last season Manchester United was the victor of the competition". "I have a lot to think because I was expecting something more playable".
UNITED drew 1-1 with Rostov at the Olimp-2 stadium, but who stood out?
Jose Mourinho made no secret of his disdain for the Rostov pitch at his press conference the other day.
Half chances came and went for substitute Christian Noboa and Kalachev, as United's players began to slip on a surface that kept deteriorating; Ibrahimovic twice lost his footing with nobody around him. On a very similar pitch in the summer in China, we and Manchester City decided not to play.
Rostov manager Ivan Daniliants told Mourinho in response to his comments about the condition of the pitch saying that it was worse when they played against Sparta Prague. Ashley Young and Daley Blind offered support in the wing-back positions, while Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera sat in front of the defence, with Paul Pogba further ahead and the fit-again Henrikh Mkhitaryan occupying the no.10 role behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic. "But it looks like we have to play". I was very surprised with what I found here. This is the first timeManchester United are playing Rostov and the stakes are going to be high. Fourth spot is now occupied by Liverpool, who have also played a game more than United.
Mourinho, pounding up and down his technical area all evening, had abandoned all previous convention by fielding three at the back, with Jones accompanied by Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling.
However, with Manchester United by no means guaranteed to finish in the Premier League's top four and the Europa League winners qualifying for the Champions League, Mourinho can not afford to be picky.
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