Jose Mourinho is right to complain about FC Rostov's awful pitch

United seem to be favourites in most eyes against FC Rostov, but with a long journey and a dodgy pitch to contend with, there's plenty of scope for tonight's game to end up being very awkward indeed. When the action got underway, it soon became clear why the Manchester United manager was so concerned. "First is impossible. Second is possible and we have to fight for it". In the first-half, United's passing accuracy stood at just 65.37%: the lowest it has been all season. They attempted 87 long passes in total. It was totally unnecessary given the context of the game.

It made for an ugly spectacle, but Manchester United had little choice but to adapt to the hard circumstances, and they came away with a positive result. Also the fact that they are used to playing on that pitch, and United are not, might give them a slight advantage. I was analysing this very good opponents that we didn't speak about yet, and in their previous matches against Bayern, Ajax, Atletico Madrid, in all these matches it looked for me a very playable pitch.

Manchester United may prioritize the Europa League as a path to the Champions League should it beat FC Rostov and reach the quarterfinal, José Mourinho has suggested.

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The tactic worked well. An away goal is always positive, 1-1 is better than 0-0 obviously, but Rostov have experience of playing big matches and big stadiums.

Mourinho said he spotted similarities between that pitch and the one they are about to play on in Russian Federation.

"I don't know [what United can do], I really don't know".

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The opening came from Phil Jones' diagonal ball that was brought down expertly by Marouane Fellaini, whose slipped in Ibrahimovic and the Swede's pull back was put away by Mkhitaryan. He nearly set up a late victor, too, heading the ball down to substitute Anthony Martial, who could not connect with his shot. He has so far made a combined 49 appearances for Juventus and Manchester United and the game against Rostov will be his 50 one.

Mourinho named a strong team and it's easy to understand why. The Europa League has taken on greater importance as United's hopes of the gatecrashing the Premier League's top four are stymied by an inability to climb beyond sixth in the table.

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