Man Utd sent groundsman to Shanghai to ensure no repeat of pitch problems



Manchester United are sending their groundsman to Shanghai to make sure there is no repeat of the pitch farce that marred their last visit to China.

The first derby on foreign soil against Manchester City was scrapped three years ago after torrential downpours left the surface at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing unplayable.

United’s first game of that tour against Borussia Dortmund at the Shanghai Stadium was also played on a poor pitch.

It was by no means the first time English clubs have encountered problems staging pre-season friendlies in the Far East during rainy season, and thunderstorms are forecast for next week when United are due to meet Tottenham at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai on Thursday.

United, who had to rely on the efforts of City’s groundsman to try and salvage the game in Beijing in 2016, have left nothing to chance this time by sending groundsman Dave Lindop ahead to Shanghai while the rest of the party are in Singapore for the International Champions Cup clash with Inter Milan on Saturday.

Club staff have travelled to China a total of four times since November to make sure the pitch is up to scratch, and United have also insisted on weekly updates from ICC organisers Relevent which so far have been positive.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players flew into Singapore on Thursday following a comfortable 4-0 win over Leeds in Perth.

Although video footage has emerged of an ugly incident involving two supporters at the Optus Stadium, only 15 fans out of a crowd of 55,274 were ejected from the ground for anti-social behaviour and none were charged.