March 9, 2017 / 7:04 AM / 5 months ago

Rock-hard Rostov pitch gives Mourinho headache

Football Soccer - Manchester United Press Conference - Olimp-2 Stadium, Rostov-on-Don, Russia - 8/3/17 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho during the press conference Reuters / Maxim Shemetov Livepic

(Reuters) - 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.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru

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