Live updates

Advertisement

Man Utd clash set to go ahead despite frozen pitch

Ashley Young stands on the frozen pitch. Credit: Reuters

Manchester United's Europa League clash against Zorya Luhansk is expected to go ahead despite concerns over the icy pitch.

United defender Daley Blind said the pitch was "like a rock" when going out to train and the world's most expensive player Paul Pogba laughed, as did several others.

The players' studs clacked on a surface that faced a routine pitch inspection at 10am local time (8am GMT) on Thursday.

UEFA officials said afterwards that the pitch had improved overnight after hot air was blown under the covers. The fact the temperature is set to rise above zero in Odessa also gives the governing body hope.

An official from Zorya said: "Everything depends on the weather.

"The pitch is not brilliant at the moment. We are expecting temperatures to be two or three degrees and everything should be okay."

At the pre-match press conference United boss Jose Mourinho questioned why UEFA allows final group matches to be played in countries where winters hit so hard.

"The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,'' he said. "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.

"So if UEFA was worried about it, they should change the fixtures and not allow the last fixtures to be played in mid-December."

Carrick part of Man Utd trio to miss Ukraine trip

Carrick will miss the Europa League clash. Credit: PA

Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian have been left out of Manchester United's trip to Zorya Luhansk, while the omission of Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin underlines how far their stock has fallen.

Jose Mourinho's men are looking to extend their Europa League campaign into the spring, which they will do if they draw their final Group A game in Odessa on Thursday.

If Feyenoord fail to win against Fenerbahce, then United would even progress with defeat in Ukraine, where their 19-man squad arrive on Wednesday afternoon.

Wayne Rooney, suspended domestically for Sunday's defeat at Everton, is part of the travelling squad, so too defender Eric Bailly as he steps up his return from injury.

Carrick, Valencia and Darmian all started at Goodison Park but have remained in the north west, while Depay and Schneiderlin have been overlooked by Mourinho.

The duo have barely made a first-team impact since the Portuguese's summer arrival and have been strongly linked with an exit next month.

Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw remain unavailable through injury, while Bastian Schweinsteiger was not registered for the Europa League.

Advertisement

Load more updates