When Manchester United take on BSC Young Boys in the two sides’ UEFA Champions League group stage opener on Wednesday, they’ll do so on an always derided artificial playing surface, in the Swiss capital city of Bern.
Speaking in Tuesday’s press conference, Man United manager Jose Mourinho was quick to insist he won’t be using the undesirable surface as an excuse should things go wrong at Stade de Suisse, nor will he allow his players to do so. He even evoked the name of the great Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time and a Swiss himself, as the model example of adaptability — quotes from Bleacher Report:
“I don’t want to use [the artificial turf].. as a possible excuse for a poor performance. Everybody knows it is different but we are in Switzerland, the home of one of the best ever tennis players, and I’m pretty sure the big man [Federer] sometimes is not happy to play on such a surface but he has to play and he has to win.
“Everybody knows he has a favorite surface, but he has also to win on other surfaces. So we have to do it.”
That’s easy for Mourinho to say, as he can easily and conveniently blame his players for not adapting or performing in the event of a draw or defeat.