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It's on: Man United's game in Ukraine to go ahead despite fears over frozen pitch

Uefa officials completed an inspection on the surface this morning.

Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho gets a closer look at the Odessa pitch.
Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho gets a closer look at the Odessa pitch.
Image: Efrem Lukatsky

MANCHESTER UNITED’S EUROPA League clash will go ahead tonight (6pm) despite fears over Zorya Luhansk’s pitch at Chornomorets Stadium.

Ground staff have been blowing hot air under pitch covers at the Ukranian club’s Odessa stadium to keep the surface from freezing over and Uefa have confirmed the match will go ahead as planned.

United manager Jose Mourinho has already voiced his displeasure at the game being played in Ukraine at this time of year.

“The pitch is hard and very icy,” Mourinho said yesterday.

“I think Uefa know the conditions of the pitch and everybody knows that in mid-December the conditions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe are more difficult.

“If UEFA are worried about it they should change the fixtures and not allow them to be played in mid-December.

“If the fifth fixture is here it’s the end of November and not mid-December and that’s the problem.

“Hotel good, stadium good, pitch bad. But it’s very cold. I know it’s difficult to have a better pitch. The stadium is beautiful and new. The pitch is the same. They are trying.

“They are putting some warmth on it, but it’s very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let’s hope everything goes OK.’

Unseasonally mild weather of 1-2 degrees Celsius today comes as a boost to the hosts, especially considering a low of -7C was previously forecast.

Uefa delegates held a pitch inspection this morning and they were happy with what they saw.

United need a point to secure their qualification for the knockout stages of the competition.

Mourinho’s side could still progress to the last 32 with a loss this evening, provding Feyenoord fail to win at home to Fenerbahce, while the Red Devils can still top the group if they better the Turkish side’s result tonight.

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