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Page last updated at 18:15 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 19:15 UK

Ferguson unfazed by Moscow pitch

CSKA Moscow v Man Utd
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium Date: Wednesday 21 October Kick-off: 1730 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and online, with text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobile phones. Also live on Sky Sports


Manchester United celebrate their Champions League crown in 2008
United enjoyed Champions League success in Moscow in May 2008

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has played down concerns over CSKA Moscow's artificial surface ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie.

United return to the Luzhniki stadium 17 months after beating Chelsea to win the trophy after a penalty shoot-out.

Despite England losing on the pitch in a Euro 2008 qualifier two years ago, Ferguson said: "It is a passing surface and we have good passers in our side.

"I watched CSKA's last European game. I didn't see any issue with the pitch."

The Old Trafford outfit are currently on top of Group B with CSKA in third place on goal difference.

With the hosts having already seen off Besiktas on the plastic surface in their previous Champions League match, Ferguson and his players will leave nothing to chance in the Russian capital.

Wayne Rooney, still recovering from a calf injury, was part of the England team who lost to Russia 2-1 on the same plastic surface during their dismal European Championships qualifying campaign in 2007.

However, Ferguson, who in the same press conference in Moscow refused to answer a question relating to his Football Association charge for comments about referee Alan Wiley, remained confident of coming through this tricky tie on such a pitch.

"When Luton and QPR had them all those years ago we always played well on them," the 67-year-old Scot added.

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"We had a great record at those artificial pitches and that was when the artificial pitches weren't as good. The one in Moscow has a far better covering on it."

United's boss remained wary of the 2005 Uefa Cup winners, having to play without the injured Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra, Park Ji-Sung, Darren Fletcher and Rooney.

"The Champions League for a few years now has had a tremendous amount of quality in it," he said.

"I think the Russian teams in particular have improved a lot in the last few years thanks to big investment.

"There are a lot of Brazilian players in Russia now. So you can expect a difficult game there and it's a surface which we're not used to playing on."



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see also
CSKA Moscow 0-1 Man Utd
21 Oct 09 |  Europe
Russia 2-1 England
17 Oct 07 |  Internationals
Ferguson hit with FA fine and ban
12 Nov 09 |  Man Utd
Giggs in running for Euro award
18 Oct 09 |  Europe
Man Utd 2-1 Bolton
17 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 2-1 Wolfsburg
30 Sep 09 |  Europe
Besiktas 0-1 Man Utd
15 Sep 09 |  Europe


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