Mourinho unhappy with Young Boys’ artificial pitch
BERN: Captain Paul Pogba produced an outstanding performance garnished by two goals to help Manchester United to a resounding 3-0 win at Swiss debutants Young Boys Bern in their Champions League Group H opener on Wednesday. Pogba bossed midfield on the artificial pitch and fired United ahead in the 35th minute with a goal of the highest quality, drilling a left-foot shot into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area after side-stepping his marker.
The France World Cup winner made it 2-0 with a contentious 44th-minute penalty, harshly awarded by German referee Deniz Aytekin after Luke Shaw’s cross struck Kevin Mbabu’s arm as the defender tried to avoid contact. A darting run by Pogba midway through the second half released Anthony Martial and the forward scored with a clinical finish from eight meters after his compatriot’s good work left him with time and space to find the back of the net. Roared on by a vocal home crowd, Young Boys charged at United in the opening 30 minutes, forcing two saves by David De Gea as the Spain goalkeeper kept out long-range efforts from Mohamed Ali Camara and Christian Fassnacht.
United’s defense looked vulnerable on either flank to the home team’s breakaways, although 19-year-old Portuguese right back Diogo Dalot showed pace going forward on his debut for the Premier League side. After Marcus Rashford clipped the outside of the post with a flicked shot in the 22nd minute, United’s nerves were settled when Pogba broke the deadlock out of nothing thanks to a piece of sublime individual skill. Young Boys’ hopes of a comeback evaporated after Pogba confidently converted the penalty and Martial, enjoying a rare start up front, made no mistake at the near post as United maintained cruise control in the second half.
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said there were fears his players would suffer injuries on Young Boys Bern’s artificial pitch and questioned UEFA’s willingness to accept such surfaces. while upbeat about his team’s performance the Portuguese manager took aim at the pitch. “Now I can say, I don’t understand how you can play the best club competition on artificial pitch,” said Mourinho, who had declined to comment on the surface before the game.
“You know, probably some fear injuries. I had some players after training yesterday – light training – and they were feeling ankles, back pains, sore. “It’s not easy, especially not for people who are not adapted to it. Also a little bit of a fear in the duels. “People are used to great surfaces in England, always watered if not rain – the clubs they provide the water and the football is much more beautiful that way,” Mourinho said. Before the game, Mourinho had urged his team to follow the example of Swiss tennis great Roger Federer and show they were capable of winning on different surfaces. Italian champions Juventus and Spain’s Valencia will also visit Bern in Group H. – Agencies