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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has admitted he does “not know which team to play” against FC Rostov on Thursday due to the state of the pitch at the Olimp-2 stadium.
The United squad landed in Russia on Tuesday evening ahead of this week’s Europa League Round of 16 first-leg tie. The manager personally inspected the playing surface on Wednesday morning before holding his pre-match press conference, which he duly used to discuss his concern for the players’ safety.
“It’s still hard for me to believe we are going to play tomorrow,” the manager told reporters. “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.”
Responding to a question about Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s possible involvement, Mourinho continued: “I don’t know which team to play, really. I don’t know which team I will play, I don’t know if Mkhitaryan if going to play. I have a lot to think because I was expecting something more playable.
“I didn’t have any contact with anyone until now; I just had a quick contact with one gentleman from UEFA when I was looking at the pitch. And when I told him about my concerns, the gentleman told me the plays are insured so if something happens, no problem.”
Mourinho would also not comment on the confirmation that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will serve a three-match domestic ban for his role in an incident with Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. However, the boss did confirm the Swede “would play” against Rostov on Thursday night.
United’s travelling squad in full: De Gea, Romero, O’Hara; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Young; Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Mkhitaryan; Martial, Rashford, Ibrahimovic.