Mkhitaryan blames pitch for 'not very interesting' Manchester United draw

Jose Mourinho was pleased with the humility displayed by Manchester United during Thursday night's (9 March) 1-1 Europa League last-16 first-leg draw against FC Rostov and confirmed that none of his players suffered any injury problems on an extremely hard pitch at Olimp-2 Stadium in Russian Federation.

Jose Mourinho says UEFA dismissed his complaints that FC Rostov's pitch is risky by saying the Manchester United players are insured.

"But the game is open, the result is open and this Rostov team have experience of playing big matches, big opponents, big stadiums".

"The Europa League is very hard but it's a target for us", the Portuguese told British media.

But Rostov, who beat Bayern Munich on the same ground in November on their way to a third-place finish in their Champions League group, levelled eight minutes after the restart.

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"It's a bad draw in every aspect".

He will be key for United in their next two Premier League matches as well as the FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea, which Ibrahimovic is suspended from.

Rostov - last season's Russian league runners-up - sent a clear warning to Mourinho's men when they routed Tomsk 6-0 on Friday.

"By age, by physicality, by intensity, aggressive going forward, [Shaw] should be the best (left-back at the club). The midfield fought for the second goal and tried to give something in attack".

The home side had clearly targeted Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic which made it all the sweeter for the pair when they combined for United's 35 minute goal.

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The visitors largely frustrated Rostov, playing for the first time at this stage of European competition, but failed to create many opportunities as both sides slugged it out in midfield.

A much-maligned figure at Old Trafford, the Belgian has turned a corner under Mourinho this season and he showed once again how useful he can be in these kind of awkward fixtures.

He is quickly carving out a role as United's small-game player, and that is by no means an insult.

Rostov are likely to be at full strength, except for doubts over injured first-choice goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanayev.

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