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Five things on Ostersunds

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Zorya Luhansk vs. Manchester United expected to go ahead on Thursday

Manchester United's Europa League clash against Zorya Luhansk is expected to go ahead on Thursday after a pitch inspection, club and UEFA officials have said.

An investigation took place at 10 a.m. local time amid concerns over whether the icy pitch would thaw sufficiently for the match to be played.

"Everything depends on the weather," a Zorya spokesman told ESPN FC's Mark Ogden on Thursday morning.

"The pitch is not brilliant at the moment, but we are expecting temperatures of 2-3 degrees [Celsius], so everything should be OK."

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A UEFA official added: "The pitch is at its coldest now. It's only going to become warmer as the day goes on."

United require a point from their game away to the Ukrainian side to progress from Group A to the round 32, with a loss even enough should Feyenoord fail to win their match against Fenerbahce.

Zorya are already out of the competition but they restricted United to a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.

The Chornomorets Stadium pitch had been frozen in places and patchy in others. On Wednesday, United trained on 70 percent of the playing surface in temperatures that dipped to minus eight Celsius, having agreed the area in the shade of the stands would remain covered.

United defender Daley Blind said it was "like a rock" when going out to train and Jose Mourinho questioned why European governing body UEFA allows final group matches to be played in countries where winters hit so hard.

"The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,'' the United boss said. "I think UEFA know the conditions of the pitch and everybody knows that in mid-December the conditions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe are more difficult.

"So if UEFA was worried about it, they should change the fixtures and not allow the last fixtures to be played in mid-December.

"If the fifth fixture is the last fixture here, it would be the end of November and not mid-December, so I think that's the problem.

"I think the stadium is beautiful, it's new, it's well taken care of. The pitch is the same. They are trying, they are putting some warmth on the top of it, but the pitch is very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let's hope everything goes well."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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