Champions League 2023-24: Man City alters usual pre-match routine to acclimate to an artificial pitch

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Manchester City has modified its customary preparations for an away game in the Champions League ahead of a clash with Young Boys on the Swiss team’s synthetic turf at its Wankdorf Stadium.

City typically forgoes the opportunity to train at the stadium where the game will be held, instead opting to train in Manchester before traveling.

However, City traveled to Bern early on Tuesday and had a practice session inside Young Boys’ stadium on its unfamiliar surface.

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Speaking at a news conference later on Tuesday, City manager Pep Guardiola expressed a preference for playing on natural grass but acknowledged the conditions.

“If UEFA allows games to be played here, it’s because the conditions are favorable,” Guardiola said.

“That’s one of the reasons we typically do not train away, but this is an exception. This is why we travel in the morning, so the players can experience how the ball behaves, how to maneuver in various directions. That’s the reason. We will attempt it and the players will immediately adapt.”

When asked about concerns regarding injuries, Guardiola replied, “I don’t know, hopefully not, for both sides, but I don’t know.

“We are unaccustomed to it. Any team that plays here is unaccustomed to it. It benefits the Swiss league, and in the Champions League, the visiting teams must adapt. We will not be the pioneers in this situation. We have to utilize it as an advantage, but natural grass is superior.”

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