Man United's 1-1 draw with Rostov summed up in one 14-second clip

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Football News

It was mission accomplished for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United in their Europa League first leg clash with Rostov on Thursday night.

On a shocking pitch, the Premier League side managed to grab a vital away goal, avoid any injuries and will go into the second leg as big favourites to progress after the 1-1 draw in Russia.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first half strike was cancelled out by Aleksandr Bukharov's equaliser shortly after the break and in truth, there weren't too many other goal scoring opportunities of note throughout the course of 90 minutes.

Arguably the biggest talking point, both before and during the game, was the Olimp-2 stadium's playing surface which looked like the sort of pitch you would expect to see at amateur level - not a last-16 tie in the Europa League.

It forced both sides into playing a more direct style of football and limited the more technically gifted stars on show.

"I think we have tried to win today, maybe we weren't very focused at the start of the second, I don't want to blame the pitch," Mourinho said in a post-match interview.

"It was a very good performance in relation to the conditions. Impossible to play any better.

"It's done, no injuries and it is one more experience for every one of us."

It certainly wasn't a match that will live long in the memory of many Man United supporters, though.

One small clip has been doing the rounds on social media that just about sums up the nature of the encounter.

As you can see below, Phil Jones launches a ball forward and what ensues can only be described as an impromptu game of head tennis.

Fourteen seconds, seven headers. With the playing surface being as bad as it was, it seems the players just decided to take the pitch out of the equation completely.

It's Paul Pogba we have sympathy for. The world's most expensive player just looks like an awkward bystander as the ball flies over his head time and time again.

Man United have certainly put in much more assured performances on the road in Europe in the past but this year there is no margin for error from Mourinho's men.

With the race to finish in the Premier League's top four so fierce, winning the Europa League might just represent the Red Devils' best chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

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Europa League
Phil Jones
Paul Pogba
Manchester United

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