Manchester United attempted to get accustomed to the plastic pitch that will await them when they take on Young Boys.
United kick off their Champions League campaign on Wednesday night but arguably their biggest test will be the artificial pitch in Bern against the reigning Swiss champions.
Jose Mourinho’s side go into the game on the back of two Premier League victories and the spirits appeared high in the camp despite their unusual surroundings.
The likes of Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku seemed in a relaxed mood as they were pictured warming up before enjoying a bit of ball work at the Stade de Suisse.
Ahead of the European clash, Mourinho has urged his players to follow Roger Federer’s example and prove they can win even when they aren’t playing on grass.
Mourinho has described the artificial pitch in Bern as a ‘huge advantage’ for Young Boys. The United boss has even left captain Antonio Valencia at home because he fears the player’s fragile knees will not stand up to the rigours of a plastic pitch.
But Mourinho used the example of Switzerland’s favourite son – and eight-time Wimbledon champion – Federer to tell his players to ignore the fact they aren’t playing on grass and get off to a winning start.
‘I don’t want to use that as a possible excuse for a not very good performance, especially before the match,’ said Mourinho, having criticised it at a UEFA coaches’ meeting in Geneva last week.
‘Everybody knows it’s different but what I had to say I told last week in Geneva and what can I say?
‘I can give as an example, we are in Switzerland, the home of one of the best ever tennis players, and I’m pretty sure that the big man sometimes is not happy to play on such a surface.
‘But he has to play and has to win. He has a favourite surface but he has to win on the surfaces he is not in love with. We have to do it.
‘We decide not to play Antonio Valencia because his knee is not a knee that needs an artificial pitch at all. We need to protect his clinical situation. Apart from that, we go with everything we have and have to try and win.’