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Manchester City change Champions League plans ahead of match on “dangerous” playing surface



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Pep Guardiola and his players have altered their Champions League plans this week ahead of their encounter with BSC Young Boys at the Wankdorf Stadium.

Manchester City will make the trip to Switzerland hoping to make it three wins from their opening three Champions League group stage games this season, after victories against Crvena zvezda and RB Leipzig on matchdays one and two respectively.

City have started their post-October international break fixture schedule by returning to winning ways following a difficult end to the last portion of fixtures, having dismissed of Brighton & Hove Albion by a 2-1 scoreline on Saturday afternoon.

However, while UEFA Champions League gameweek routines are usually a formality, it has now been reported that significant changes have been made to Manchester City’s schedule due to concerns over the player surface that awaits them on Wednesday night.

As per the information of Simon Bajkowski for the Manchester Evening News, Manchester City have made a change to their UEFA Champions League preparations in an attempt to try and get used to playing on an artificial pitch.

It is detailed that Pep Guardiola and his City players will train at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland on Tuesday night as opposed to having a session in Manchester in the morning.

The MEN report that the aim is to familiarise themselves with the synthetic turf they will be playing on against BSC Young Boys on Wednesday night, given that the reigning European champions will not be used to the surface.

City rivals Manchester United have already experienced the difficulties of the Wankdorf Stadium themselves, having fallen to a somewhat surprising 2-1 defeat to the Swiss club during the Champions League group stage of 2021.

Old Trafford left-back Luke Shaw was one of the players to be outspoken about the dangers of the playing surface in Bern, labelling the artificial surface as “dangerous” and a standard of pitch that should not be allowed in top-level European competition.

“No excuses, we lost the game tonight, you can’t blame the pitch,” Shaw exclaimed two years ago. “But for Champions League, these pitches, they shouldn’t be possible. It’s dangerous. It’s hard to turn on. But like I said, it’s no excuse.”

Pep Guardiola is likely to be quizzed on BSC Young Boys’ playing surface on Tuesday afternoon when he faces the media from Switzerland, whilst also offering an insight into Manchester City’s fitness ahead of the contest.