Real Madrid will have to play on Old Trafford mudbath as Fergie admits title-chasing United left stuck with dodgy pitch
23:34 GMT, 30 January 2013
01:51 GMT, 31 January 2013
Manchester United are stuck with their deteriorating Old Trafford pitch until the end of the season after the club decided not to rip it up before the summer.
United’s playing surface has been in a mess since the wet Manchester weather before Christmas and now represents something of a rutted sandpit after being dried out by a period of frost and cold weather.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was damning in his criticism of the pitch after his team struggled to beat Southampton 2-1 in the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday night but it is understood that the club’s ground staff have advised there is no way it can be replaced mid-season.
They've got their work cut out: Manchester United's pitch has been left a mess by the winter weather
Ferguson said after the match: 'We found the pitch difficult to play on. Southampton won a lot of 50-50 balls as our players looked to take a touch.
'We watered the pitch before the game but once it dried out in the second half it became difficult.
'We couldn’t play our normal game on it and its really becoming a problem for us.'
Life's a pitch: United struggled on the surface during the win against Southampton, said Sir Alex Ferguson
Turf wars: The pitch can clearly be seen churning up during Wednesday's match at Old Trafford
With United looking to cement their position at the top of the Premier League in coming weeks and due to face Real Madrid at Old Trafford in the Champions League on March 5, Ferguson would certainly like his team to have a better surface to play on and it is not unknown for clubs to relay surfaces during a season.
It seems, however, that United will have to make the best of things until the summer.
Do I really have to play on that pitch Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid come to Old Trafford on March 5