Manchester United Rostov pitch

Manchester United is in an unusual place right now – Russia. The Red Devils drew FC Rostov in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, and have ventured to Russia for the first leg of the tie on Thursday.

Out of all the cities countries in Europe one of the most famous soccer clubs could have played in, they ended up in the far away city of Rostov, Russia. In case you aren’t familiar with Russian geography, the city of Rostov, or Rostov-on-Don as it’s referred to, is in the far south on the Russian/Ukraine border, which isn’t the safest place to be right now either.

United is slated to play its first leg game at Olimp-2 Stadium in Rostov, and the stadium’s surface makes the trip even worse.

Oh, that’s bad.

Oh, that’s really bad.

“May not be in perfect condition,” is an understatement.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is understandably upset about the state of the pitch, and compared it to the Bird’s Nest pitch in Beijing that United was supposed to play a preseason game on, but that game was canceled because of the surface condition after torrents of rain rendered the pitch unplayable.

“It’s still hard for me to believe that we are going to play (there),” Mourinho said. “In a very similar pitch in the summer in China, we and Manchester City decided not to play. But it looks like we have to play.”

“I know that we have to, but it is hard for me to believe we are going to play (on Thursday) on that field – if you can call it a field,” Mourinho added. “And I don’t know what team to play, really. I don’t know if Henrikh Mkhitaryan is going to play, I don’t know.”

It’ll be interesting to see who does and doesn’t play for Man United tomorrow.


About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.