Jose Mourinho has said that the state of the Olimp-2 Stadium’s pitch ahead of tonight’s Europa League last 16 tie with FC Rostov has thrown his Manchester United team selection into doubt. The first leg takes place on Thursday night on a surface described as being as bad as the one that forced the cancellation of a Manchester Derby against City in China during the club’s pre-season preparations.
United supporters were initially buoyed to see the return of Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the travelling squad, but with the Armenian only just returning from a two week absence through injury, Mourinho is wary of throwing the former Borussia Dortmund player into the side as a result of the conditions in Russia.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of the game, Mourinho said: “It’s still hard for me to believe that we are going to play tomorrow. I know we have to but it’s hard for me to believe we are going to play on that field, if you can call it a field.”
“I don’t know which team to play, really. I don’t know which team I will play, I don’t know if (Mkhitaryan is going to play. I have a lot to think because I was expecting something more playable.”